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STRESS - DEFINITION, TYPES, SYMPTOMS & CAUSE OF STRESS - ROOTS OF STRESS

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STRESS - DEFINITION, TYPES, SYMPTOMS & CAUSE OF STRESS - ROOTS OF STRESS

Everybody experiences stress in one form or the other daily. People might experience stress without even realising they are stressed and this affects their day-to-day activities and make them less efficient than they normally would be. It’s important to educate oneself and get to know everything about stress one would need to know and prevent any form of stress in their lives.

 

Contents

WHAT IS STRESS?

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STRESS?

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF STRESS?

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF STRESS?

 

What is Stress?

 

Stress is your body's reaction to changes which results in physical, emotional and intellectual responses. It can also be said that stress is your body's reaction to anything that requires action or attention. Everyone experiences stress, and each person has their tolerance level on how much stress they can handle. 

The way each person responds to stress has a big impact on your mental health. When your body senses danger, your body's defense system initiates a response to the changes and starts a process called "Fight or Flight" reaction or the Stress Response by releasing certain hormones such as Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine into your blood.

 

These hormones trigger the following in your body:

 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Sweating
  • Alertness
  • Muscles Tighten

 

Certain environmental factors trigger such reactions in the human body. These factors are called Stressors. Some of the most common Stressors are noise, a speeding car, horror films, etc. The intensity of stress tends to increase with the increase in the number of Stressors.

Stress sometimes is helpful to avoid extreme casualties; for instance, while driving a car, if you require sudden braking due to any reason, that sudden reflex is caused due to the stress you experienced in that split second, and here, it helped save your life. 

So stress is not always bad for you per se. But when stress lasts for longer periods, that is when it needs to be addressed, and it's recommended to see your doctor/General Practitioner before trying out any home remedies.

 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF STRESS?

 

The National Institute of Mental Health has recognized two types of stress that require different levels of management. 

 

They are:

 

1. ACUTE STRESS

 

It is the most common form of stress people experience in day-to-day life situations. The short term stress is cured easily within a short period of time.

Acute stress helps you to manage difficult and dangerous situations.

Acute stress mainly occurs when one is worried about an event that is yet to happen or something that has already happened.

For example, A Student may feel stressed about an exam that he is going to write, or a person might get stressed about an interview he has to give in a while. Still, both these stresses are temporary and go away once the task is completed; here, once the student finishes the exam, and once the person finishes his interview, they are no longer stressed because it has already taken place and is in the past. 

However, sometimes, both the parties here can be worried about the result, the student can be worried about his score, and the other person might be worried about his job. This also falls under Acute Stress.

Acute stresses often tend to have immediate solutions even though the challenges a person faces are extreme; they can be treated in a very short time.

 

2. CHRONIC STRESS

 

Any type of stress that lasts for a very long time is known as Chronic Stress. Certain situations like an unhappy marriage or poverty or family-related issues can lead to Chronic Stress. Chronic stress can also develop as a result of traumatic experiences during childhood. 

A person with chronic stress feels trapped and loses all hope in seeking a solution for the condition that they are currently facing. Chronic stress can make it very difficult for a person's hormone levels to return to normal. 

The level of stress hormone secreted during chronic stress is so high that it takes a very long time to get back to normal hormone levels, and this can lead to problems in certain body systems such as:

 

  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory
  • Immunity
  • Sleep-related
  • Reproductive
  •  

A person undergoing chronic stress is more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many heart diseases. Some other medical conditions that occur due to chronic stress include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), etc.

If chronic stress isn't treated at the right time, people are more bound to having final breakdowns that can lead to suicide, a heart attack or stroke.

 

3. EUSTRESS

 

Also known as positive stress is a type of stress that keeps you happy and energized. It is mainly associated with an increase in the hormone adrenaline (adrenaline is the hormone secreted from the adrenal glands) associated with "fight or flight" reactions in the body). 

Eustress keeps you motivated and gives you the confidence to work towards your goals, and makes you feel good about your life in general.

 

4. EPISODIC STRESS:

 

When acute stress occurs in your body with some regularity or frequency, it is known as episodic acute stress.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF STRESS?

 

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The thing about stress is that you can never be sure if you have it or since when do you have it because your body gets adjusted to that stressful condition, thinking it's normal, but it's affecting your mental health without you even knowing it. 

So it's important to stay on the lookout for symptoms of stress which can, in the long term, affect your mind and body in many ways. Chronic stress has more devastating impacts on your mental health. 

Identifying certain symptoms of stress on your body and seeking medical help at the right time will prevent further worsening of your mental health and restore your body and mind and keep it healthy.

 

COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS

• Memory Problems

• Poor Judgement

• Constant Negative Thoughts (Pessimism)

• Inability to focus/concentrate

• Increasing Anxiety

• Constant worry

 

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS

• Loneliness

• Irritability

• Being Moody all the time

• Unnecessary anger

• Become more anti-social

• Frequent burnouts

• Feeling of insecurity

• Carelessness

• Forgetfulness

• Excessive Nail biting

 

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS

• Body aches

• Loss of sexual drive

• Frequent common cold or flu

• Rapid heart rate

• Chest pain

• Nausea

• Dizzy feeling

• Diarrhoea

• Excess Sweating

• Fatigue

• Low energy

• Constipation

 

BEHAVIORAL SYMPTOMS

 

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• Over Eating

• Becoming more anti-social

• Excess Alcoholism

• Excessive Smoking

• Procrastination

• Irregular sleep times

• Frequent crying

• Excessive anger outbursts

 

If you notice any symptoms such as the above for longer periods, it would be wise to consult your doctor before your mental health deteriorates further.

 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF STRESS?

 

Stress is relative from person to person. What may be extremely stressful for one person may not necessarily be as stressful for another. Each person has their level of tolerance to the stress they experience. Stress occurs when certain changes in our body affect our health. 

A “Fight or flight” response is initiated to cope with the effects of stress the body endures. During this response, certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, which speeds up the heart rate, slows down digestion, shunts blood flow to major muscles and alters various other autonomic nervous system functions giving the body a surge of energy and strength/ power. 

This allows a person to respond to space based on how much they can endure. When the stimulus that caused the stressful reaction to occur in our body is gone, systems return to their normal functioning via the "relaxation response".

The relaxation response is the mechanism employed to counteract the "fight or flight "response when the stimulus of stress has been removed. During this response, the autonomic nervous system functioning returns to normal. The relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system can be easily induced by exercising or meditation, anything that calms the body down.

 

According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the top ten events in life that can trigger stressful reactions are:

 

  • Death of a spouse
  • Divorce
  • Marriage Separation
  • Imprisonment
  • Death of a close family member
  • injury or illness
  • marriage
  • loss
  • marriage reconciliation
  • Retirement

 

Staying on the lookout for symptoms of stress is extremely important. Timely treatment can prevent some of the gravest of diseases and especially stress, as it can affect your quality of life overall if not treated at the right time.  


Abid Suhail

Abid Suhail

A medical student on the path to providing authentic medical knowledge for the sole purpose of generating awareness and education. More about me? I love Football :)