Essay: discuss biological methods of stress management (12 marks)
“Stress management” is defined as any attempt to reduce the negative effects of stress. Management techniques can be divided into those which are broadly biological in nature.
Biological methods of stress management try to control the body’s response to stress by reducing physiological activity. The most well-known biological method of stress management is drug therapy.
Drugs are used to manage stress are called anxiolytics. The effect of this drug is to reduce heightened physiological activity without inducing tiredness. The main group of anxiolytics are Benzodiazepines (BZ).
BZ drugs work by influencing levels of GABA in the brain. GABA stops other chemicals from exciting neurons in the brain. As a result, the level of excitation in the brain drops, and the person feels calmer.
Beta blockers have been prescribed to manage stress. They reduce the activity in the sympathetic branch of the ANS. This prepares the body to expend energy (the flight or fight response). Beta blockers reduce physiological activity, so things like increased heart rate and blood pressure are lowered. Beta blockers prevent speeding up the physiological activity when we experience a stressor.
There are strengths and weaknesses for the drug therapy. The main strength of this drug is that they work very quickly and are effective in reducing stress almost immediately. Their use can be therefore be justified, provided that the stressor is a short term one rather than a long term one.
Another strength is that drugs are also relatively inexpensive compared to psychological approaches to stress management. Also, drugs are widely available (they are prescribed) whereas psychological approaches may not be available everywhere. Moreover, compared with psychological approaches, drugs do not require any time or inclination because you take the drug and wait for it to alter physiological activity.
However, there are a...