The Handbook of Stress: Neuropsychological Effects on the Brain

The Handbook of Stress: Neuropsychological Effects on the Brain

The Handbook of Stress: Neuropsychological Effects on the Brain

The Handbook of Stress: Neuropsychological Effects on the Brain

Synopsis

The Handbook of Stress: Neuropsychological Effects on the Brain is an authoritative guide to the effects of stress on brain health, with a collection of articles that reflect the most recent findings in the field.
  • Presents cutting edge findings on the effects of stress on brain health
  • Examines stress influences on brain plasticity across the lifespan, including links to anxiety, PTSD, and clinical depression
  • Features contributions by internationally recognized experts in the field of brain health
  • Serves as an essential reference guide for scholars and advanced students

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to serve as a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the central issues and state-of-the-art research on the effects of stress on brain health. It fills a void in the literature, coalescing works from leading international scholars in the field of stress and brain function. Contributing scholars investigate stress actions in the brain at all levels of analysis, stemming from those who work at the level of the molecular stage, the cellular phase, systems interactions, and function using animal models and clinical settings. The breadth of the topics covered include the basics of the stress response (Part I) to introduce the reader to terms and concepts that are used throughout the book, which are followed by the variety of ways that stress can influence brain plasticity and cognition (Part II) and its actions across the life span (Part III). Subsequent chapters cover pathological outcomes such as anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression (Part IV). The final chapters (Part V) reveal that many factors contribute to brain plasticity and pathology in response to stress, called resilience, and these include coping strategies, predictability, and genetic factors such as gender. This book is unique because it focuses on both the beneficial and detrimental effects of stress on brain health. Readers will gain an appreciation for the brain’s ability to adapt and respond to stress in ways that maximize brain function in a dynamic world, but will also come to understand that the brain has limits, with maladaptive outcomes occurring when exceeding these limits.

To conceptualize the theme of balance, the cover art of this book was chosen to visualize the integration of stress and the brain, to represent the universal theme of balance, or yin yang. Yin is characterized as soft, cold, wet, and tranquil. In contrast, Yang is hard, fast, edgy, and dry. These two forces are somewhat opposite, but they are not opposing: they balance each other. In a similar parallel, stress also has a balance: it is needed to produce energy and motivation so that an individual can survive challenges. However, persistent or unregulated stress can lead to maladaptive outcomes. The key is finding mechanisms that allow for harmony.

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