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Victims' Symptom : glossary:stress
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The term stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition. The term is in use from 1936 when Hans Selye defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. He had noted in numerous experiments that laboratory animals subjected to acute but different noxious physical and emotional stimuli all exhibited the same pathologic changes (Seyle, 1998). Seyle demonstrated that persistent stress could cause development of various diseases in animals similar to diseases in humans (heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis). He also believed that most diseases were caused by specific but different pathogens (Lazarus, 1993). The situation is actually the opposite - many different insults could cause the same disease.

Soon after Selye's theory the term stress became popular but his original definition was completely ignored. Today in everyday communication the term “stress” is refer to an overbearing or bad boss or some other unpleasant situation they were subjected to. Some peoples use term for describe they own reactions on some situation and others used term stress to refer to what they perceived as the end result of these repeated responses. After many complains from scientists referred to this confusion one physician concluded in a 1951 that “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result of itself.”



  • Seyle H. Classic Article - A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 1998; 10:230-231.
  • Lazarus RS. From psychological stress to the emotions: a history of changing outlooks. Annual Review of Psychology 1993; 44: 1-22.

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