There are all kinds of things in life that can cause us stress, but for some groups, there are unique stressors that others may not experience. A new study has revealed that there may be some unique stressors that affect gay and bisexual men, which may help to explain why mental health difficulties appear to persist within the LGBTQ community even as great acceptance and civil rights are achieved. The study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that some factors within the community can also be stressors, including competitiveness, status consciousness, and racism.
The five-year study, headed by the lead author John Pachankis, associate professor of public health and psychology at Yale, is based on five psychological studies. It found that gay and bisexual men reported that their stress often came from issues within their community, including the focus on status, competition, and sex, as well as racism within the community. These factors were linked to compromised mental health, particularly for those regarded to be lower status in the community.
The study also involved a series of experiments involving gay and bisexual men participating in online chats with other men. This showed that rejection from other gay and bisexual men who were perceived as being higher-status (due to factors such as masculinity, attractiveness and income) was more stressful than if the higher-status man was straight. The study found that comparisons along the lines of income, race and physique were the source of anxieties that have worsened with social media, and hookup and dating apps.
The Effects of Chronic Stress
Stress is something that everyone experiences, but chronic stress can have a wide-reaching effect. Repeated stress can have an impact on your brain, and can create inflammation in the body. The blood-brain barrier that protects the brain, but stress can cause this barrier to become leaky, which allows inflammatory proteins to get into the brain. This can affect different areas of the brain, including the hippocampus, which is especially vulnerable, affecting learning and memory. Areas of the brain related to motivation and mental agility can also be damaged in this way.
Chronic stress can also have an effect on mood. It can change the chemicals in the brain that play a part in regulating mood. A reduced hippocampus is also more likely to be observed in depressed patients than those without depression.
Finding Ways to Deal with Stress
People deal with stress in many different ways. Dealing with external stressors is often necessary, but it’s also important for people to be able to manage their feelings of stress. Some people use exercise to deal with their stress, while others find other natural ways to relax. Natural remedies such as the products found at https://www.everydayoptimalcbd.com/ are a popular choice for stress relief too. Of course, sometimes stress might need to be dealt with using professional help. Whether from talking therapies or other treatment options, high levels of stress and mental health problems may require ongoing treatment.
Stress can come from many places and have various effects. Knowing the causes of stress can help to make it easier to address.