Stress : An Increasing Threat Essay

Stress An Increasing Threat Term paper

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Stress is an increasing concern since it is more prevalent in our lives today than it has been in the past due to many of our traditional avenues of dealing with stress being no longer readily available to us as well as the many new stresses caused by modern life. These include the increasing crowding of today s cities, the fact that the stresses in today s life are largely implied and that there is no physical way to take them out as well as anticipation often being more stressful than the event itself. In today s increasingly urbanized world one can see that people are becoming more crowded together, and so stimuli such as noise are amplified by the close proximity to one another. People in the city tend to be overstimulated however, and this causes them to try to block out whatever excess they can, such as ignoring people who they see walking down the street. The overcrowding in today s gargantuan cities has amplified the problems of substance abuse, alcoholism, crime and mental illness in comparison with areas that have the population density of rural areas and villages. This was shown although to quite an extreme in a study performed by John Calhoun at the United States National Institute Of Mental Health in which he let loose a half dozen pregnant female rats into a quarter acre pen sufficient for supporting 5000 rats. Though even after 3 years, the population had never risen over 150, this was due to some of the first generation males staking out large claims to the territory, and forcing the remainder, aside from their mates to live in a huddled mass. In this huddled mass chaos ensued, with groups forming to beat others at random, some becoming cannibalistic or showing homosexual behaviour and some becoming completely passive and withdrawn. After Calhoun had terminated the experiment he came up with a term for the huddled mass, which he called a behavioural sink (Ogden Tanner,46), he defined this as any behavioural process which collects animals together in unusually great numbers . The negative effects of overcrowding have also been shown by a study performed at London s Bedford College, on a group of 220 South London women. The area from which these women came had a population density double that of the Greater London Area, and they found that more than 1/3rd of the women needed psychiatric care, a little over triple England s national rate of psychological disorder, though none of the women had been interviewed about mental illnesses before. Similar statistics we re found in a study performed in New York during the late 1960's performed by students at the Cornell Medical School. This study also revealed that people in the area of higher population density had triple the alcoholism of the city as a whole. Stress in modern daily life is more pronounced than it has been in the past, for example in the past when one was running low on food, they would go harvest more either by hunting or foraging, but in today s society when one is out of money or a rent payment is due, they simply cannot go and take more money in an acceptable fashion. This creates stress because the prerequisites of survival are now much more ambiguous than they have been in the past.
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