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Kinds of stress

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Health


There are basically three types of stress that can be experienced by a person. They are: acute stress, episodic acute stress and chronic stress.

Of all the forms of stress, acute stress is the easiest to understand, recognize and to treat. It is short lived and can be caused by anything. Even mundane things like a broken tap or pending deadlines can trigger acute stress. Sometimes even getting up late on a day when you have an important meeting scheduled for the morning can lead to a lot of stress.

Anxiety, aggressiveness and restlessness are the common behavioral symptoms observed in people suffering from acute stress. The other common symptoms felt are increase in blood pressure, pulse rate and the breathing rate. Gastric indigestion, vomiting and nausea can be felt momentarily. Headaches or mild dizziness can be experienced in cases of severe stress.

Acute stress is temporary and can be treated. You just need to calm your mind and think clearly for a while. Also breathing exercises can calm your mind and bring the stress hormone levels to a normal state.  Mild medication can be taken to provide temporary relief.

A more serious kind of acute stress is episodic acute stress. The person in this case suffers from a state of constant stress that is caused largely by emotional distress. Such persons are highly aggressive and restless by nature. They can easily suffer from bouts of temper and nervousness.

They are likely to be depressed and moody when they are unable to achieve high goals that they have set for themselves. They find it very hard to keep relationships going. They also suffer from a heightened sense of worry and insecurity.

Episodic stress is the most difficult to diagnose. This is because most people are unaware that the reasons for their behavioral problems and emotional distress are due to stress. Their responses are mistaken to be their natural behavior and most people accept them as they are without realizing that they are victims of episodic stress. Episodic acute stress can be best treated by taking professional help.

The last type of stress is chronic stress. As suggested by the word chronic this type of stress can be a lifelong problem, if not treated in time. Chronic stress is closely linked to emotional distress and failure. Emotional distress broadly includes failed marriage, painful divorces, traumatic accidents or merely an unsatisfactory job.

Sometimes an incident that happened during childhood can be a cause for chronic stress. Children who have been victims of wars, violent riots or natural disasters like earthquakes are scarred for life. Physical or sexual abuse can also amount to lifelong stress. Often the repercussions of such events affect your life and your thinking entirely.

You tend to accept stress as a part of your self and do not fight it. In the end it results in a complete burn out. Suicide, heart attacks or strokes are not uncommon among people suffering from chronic stress. Professional help is a must for treating patients of chronic stress.