Everyone has some level of stress associated with everyday life and activities, juggling busy schedules jam-packed with social, personal, work, and family obligations. But when stress becomes overwhelming and persistent or reaches toxic levels, it can quickly take a major toll on both emotional and physical well-being. It interferes with normal physiological functioning, including the body’s immune system and other organ systems, and increases the risk of acute and chronic diseases and conditions.
Chronic stress has a major influence on the immune system, lowering the body’s natural immune responses so the risk of developing acute illnesses like colds and flus is significantly increased. At the same time, stress can take a toll on other systems and physiologic processes, causing or contributing to problems like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep-related disorders, gastro-intestinal problems, migraine and tension headaches, obesity and inflammation to name just a few. Stress can also exacerbate chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. And of course, chronic stress can also take a toll on emotional health, increasing feelings of anxiety and depression.
Chronic stress symptoms can vary in intensity from one person to another, causing physical and emotional issues like:
Treatment for chronic stress begins with an in-depth evaluation using biofeedback instrumentation, patient interviews, reviews of the patient’s medical history and lifestyle factors, and quantitative EEG brain mapping to determine the specific effects of chronic stress on physiological tension levels and brain activity linked to symptoms. These evaluations and measurements provide important information essential for developing a customized treatment plan based on the patient’s unique needs.
Once the evaluation is complete, patients undergo biofeedback and neurofeedback treatment to help them restore normal homeostasis (stable, healthy physiological functioning or balance). The deep relaxation achieved through biofeedback can reverse acute and chronic tension states, resulting in a reduction or relief of symptoms. The patient can use their learned biofeedback self-regulation processes or techniques for the rest of their lives to prevent future stress from dominating and controlling them again; thus, helping to prevent stress illnesses and achieve long-term improvements in emotional well-being and physical health.
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