Types of StressLindsay
Stress evolved as a natural reaction to threats in the environment. This survival mechanism is the fight-or-flight response. Ordinarily, when you encounter a perceived danger, your body releases a flood of hormones that prepare you to either confront the stressor or run away from it.
While most people return to their baseline level after the risk has passed, some people cannot relax. They remain in a constant state of being tense, nervous and on edge. This frequent or prolonged stress can be mentally and physically harmful.
How Does Stress Affect Your Well-Being?
Our understanding of the mind-body connection continues evolving, and this growing awareness has sparked a national conversation about what causes stress and how people experience it. While there is a positive form of stress, called eustress, being anxious and overwhelmed can have severe physical and mental consequences.
You can think of your fight-or-flight response as an alarm system that sends a series of signals to your adrenal glands. The two hormones involved in your instinctive reaction to stress are adrenaline and cortisol. If these hormone levels stay high for too long, you could have health problems like these.
- Damaged blood vessels
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Weight gain
- Sleep problems
- Lack of energy
- Type 2 diabetes
- Confusion and memory problems
- A weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness
3 Types of Stress
The types of stress are acute, episodic acute and chronic.
Acute stress is a short-lived, immediate reaction to a novel or challenging situation. Acutely stressful encounters aren’t generally harmful and can even be beneficial by helping you practice how you respond in difficult circumstances. Once the danger passes, you should be able to relax and return to normal. However, severe acute stress can lead to trauma.
Episodic Acute Stress
If you frequently experience periods of acute stress, mental health professionals call it episodic acute stress. People in challenging professions, such as military service members and first responders, are likely to be familiar with this condition.
Long-term or chronic stress is when you have consistently elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels. Chronic stress is a health concern because it can cause anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, insomnia and body aches, among other issues.
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