Stress Harms Ability to Fight Stress

Boosts hormones that buffer against effects of pressure

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TUESDAY, Aug. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Stress may boost levels of certain hormones that influence your ability to cope with the negative effects of stress, says a study in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study was conducted by researchers at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Veterans Affairs New England Healthcare System in West Haven, Conn. They measured levels of the hormones DHEA-S and cortisol in 25 military personnel before and after they experienced stressful scenarios in military survival school.

"The DHEA-S-cortisol ratios during stress were significantly higher in subjects who reported fewer symptoms of dissociation and exhibited superior military performance," the researchers wrote.

"These data provide prospective, empirical evidence that the DHEA-S level is increased by acute stress in healthy humans and that the DHEA-S-cortisol ratio may index [indicate] the degree to which an individual is buffered against the negative effects of stress," they wrote.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has advice on how to cope with stress.

SOURCE: American Medical Association, news release, Aug. 2, 2004

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