Many would be utterly surprised to know that shingles and stress, have a lot to do with each other than we would expect. Stress, it seems can trigger the dormant varicella-zoster virus to attack the immune system, thereby casing shingles.
Shingles is caused by the dormant virus varicella-zoster which is retained within our system after we get chickenpox. This virus stays inert and does not get activated for the second time, unless there is a drastic fall in our immune defense. This condition in almost all cases, occurs only among adults, probably because children develop a strong resistance to this virus after their bout of chickenpox. This resistance stays for years until they grow into adults, and then may fall because of bad lifestyle or diseases. The Shingles disease results in blisters or boils on the skin which causes itching, pain, and nerve discomfort. However, recent studies have come to believe that shingles and stress are related and excessive stress can cause a sudden outbreak of this rash. Let us find out how this could be a possibility and ways to avoid such an outbreak.
Does Stress Lead to Shingles?
When we talk about stress we talk in correlation to depression. Stress in context to shingles does not occur due to minor and controllable tensions, sadness, boredom, etc. The stress here refers to a pronounced and unbearable uprising of tension and unhappiness. This magnitude of feeling usually occurs in extreme situations wherein the individual has been undergoing a trauma of personal nature, which has had an obvious impact on their peace of mind and soul. When this stress continues to haunt and torment an individual for a long time, say over several weeks or months, it will have an adverse impact of that individual’s health and state of mind. There will be behavioral changes and unprecedented shifts in mood, also known as mood swings. Their appetite and general lifestyle will undergo drastic metamorphosis which will ensure that they continue to get weaker and even more discontent. Such a situation will arise when the person cannot get over his stress even if he wishes to have a normal happy existence.
Connection between Stress and Shingles
It has now been proven that people who suffer from too much stress and depression are more likely to suffer from shingles. The reason being that the immune system in such people is weakened because of the imbalance in the hormones being released. Too much of stress will release a lot of adrenaline which will cause the body to overreact and cause the white blood cells to malfunction. This malfunction on behalf of the white cells will cause too much of these cells to be released, which in a normal alerted situation would have helped fight pathogens. However, when the body is in a perpetual state of stress, the white cells will begin to attack the body itself, thereby causing internal weakening of the immune defenses. Simultaneously, the white blood cells, become too much in number which makes them lax and thus they fail to fight against minor infections and viruses. It is this fall in the body’s protection which instigates the chickenpox virus to take advantage of this opportune time and the weakened condition. The virus then reappears as shingles rash, which is much more difficult to cure and takes longer to disappear.
How to Avoid Shingles through Stress Management
The only way to avoid an outbreak of shingles and depression is to deal with the problem and heal yourself emotionally as well as physically. Here are a few measures which may sound easy to follow but can be very daunting for a worked up person.
The reason why this is the first step, is because without letting go, every other attempt to heal, will be futile. Whatever has been troubling you may have happened in the past. Let the past be and move on. It isn’t as simple as its made to sound, however the fact is that this measure is necessary in order to heal. You need to get your health back into your control and not let your miseries get the better of you. Try to think of a better day and take it one day at a time.
Seek Help and Discuss Your Problems
You should talk about your problems to a loved one, such as with family or close friends. If you do not wish to share your feelings with them, try talking to a shrink, where you know that all that you divulge will remain confidential. If you’re not open to the idea, try reading or watching real life stories about others with similar experiences as yours. Observe how they made it through and are living a fulfilled life.
Improve Your Lifestyle
Stop following habits which you know are not good for your health. Stop habits such as starving yourself, or overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol and other bad habits. Try practicing healthy habits, such as eating healthy and staying calm. Exercising is a great way to help you boost your mood, and so is spending time with people or doing things which make you happier. Spending time with your pet dog can be very rewarding for instance and so can spending time with family. Even trying out old hobbies or taking up new ones can make you feel independent and self sufficient.
Say No to Negativity
Understand the things that disturb your state of well-being. Either cut yourself away from them or learn to control them so that they do not bother you. Do not let this negativism affect you and learn to fight it off.
Solve Pending Issues
Learn to face your fears and do not procrastinate any longer. Deal with past issues so that you know that the problem has been resolved, once and for all.
It may seem ironic to discuss shingles and stress in the same context, but the fact remains that the two conditions are closely related. The end purpose is to remain happy and healthy, so as to steer yourself away from health complications.