Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Stress is a physical response to a situation. When the brain receives a threatening signal, a flood of chemicals overwhelms the rational, more evolved part of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex. Neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine, activate the amygdala, a more primitive part of the brain that evolved to prepare the body’s “fight or flight” response in the face of, say, a lion. Anxiety shares the same physical and biological elements as stress. Two differences are that stress-induced neurotransmitters and hormones stay ramped up and our minds get stuck in repetitive worry, or panic-driven thought loops. Physical symptoms of depression can include weight loss or gain, poor sleep, physical pain, and speaking or moving more slowly than normal. Its mental manifestations can include persistent sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and mental paralysis.

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