Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, visited the Yale Stress Center on November 17 to speak with several affiliates of the Yale Department of Psychiatry about the harmful effects of stress on people.
Gupta, who has won multiple Emmy awards for his health and medical reporting, interviewed Rajita Sinha, PhD, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Yale Stress Center, where researchers use innovative techniques to study the science of stress and to test novel treatments to reverse its destructive effects on the brain and body.
Sinha told Gupta that stress can greatly impact a person's ability to perform at optimum levels, and can compromise their health. It can prompt a person to make poor choices, such as to eat or drink excessively, or to smoke or do drugs, for short-term relief.
There are ways to mitigate stress, Sinha said. "Being social is a great buffer. We are social animals," she said. She told Gupta that to cope in stressful situations, she takes hold of her mind and focuses on what will make her feel more relaxed.
For patients, "My job is to optimize your function the best that I can do," she said, adding that stress can be controlled with mindfulness exercises and, in some cases, medication.