Acute Stress vs. Chronic Stress - Signs and symptoms, Treatment

image source: Pixabay

Acute stress is a type of stress that only occurs for a set period of time or only because of certain factors in the environment. On the other side chronic stress comes as the result of a situation that has not been resolved or continued for many years prior to being resolved. This might be a traumatic event that happened during childhood. In short, acute stress is short-term stress while chronic stress is long-term stress.

For example, acute stress would be any stress you suffer from for a short period of time—like a traffic jam, an argument with your spouse, criticism from your boss or someone breaking into your house when you aren’t there. College students use this type of stress often to complete projects and “cram” for exams. This ‘on the spot’ type of stress can be good for you because the stress hormones released help your mind and body to deal with the situation.

But the body isn’t so good at handling chronic stress. Over time, chronic stress gradually increases your resting heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and levels of muscle tension so the body now has to work even harder when it’s at rest to keep you functioning normally.

In fact, chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, and depression. But the effects of chronic stress are worst for people at risk for developing these and other problems. For instance, if one has a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or has unhealthy lifestyle habits, then chronic stress can flip the switch that turns on these health problems.

Signs and symptoms of acute stress include:

• Anxiety
• Irritability
• Mood swings
• Poor concentration
• Problems sleeping
• Recurrent nightmares or flashbacks
• Avoiding people or places that serve as reminders of the stressful event
• Aggression
• Recklessness
• Emotional numbness
• Nausea
Headaches
• Abdominal pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Rapid heartbeat

Signs and symptoms of chronic stress include:

• Depression or general unhappiness
• Anxiety and agitation
• Moodiness, irritability, or anger
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Loneliness and isolation
• Other mental or emotional health problems

Treatment

Treatment for acute stress often includes rest and relaxation. Anti-anxiety medication is usually only used if acute stress is a trigger for anxiety or panic attacks. Therapy can help if the situation is not going to be resolved in a short period of time. While the treatment for chronic stress might include cognitive behavioral therapy and medication as well as treatment for any physical illnesses brought on as a result of living with stress for an extended time.

Sources & References:
humanstress.ca
www.healthcentral.com
www.healthywomen.org
www.huffingtonpost.com
www.helpguide.org
www.recoveryranch.com

Healthy Food MasterGeneral Healthstress
image source: Pixabay Acute stress is a type of stress that only occurs for a set period of time or only because of certain factors in the environment. On the other side chronic stress comes as the result of a situation that has not been resolved or continued for many...
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