It’s normal to feel stressed in certain situations, and navigating life while managing stress is a crucial skill. However, severe or continuous stress can take a serious toll on your mental and physical well-being. Without proper stress management or professional mental health treatment, stress can lead to more serious psychological issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Understanding different types of stress-related disorders can help you identify signs of an imbalance in yourself or a loved one so that you are better equipped to intervene when needed. Read on to learn more about these conditions and how they might manifest themselves and impact your health.
Chronic stress is a condition that occurs when your body and mind become overstimulated for long periods of time, making it harder for you to return to a relaxed state. This can be triggered by many sources, including financial stress, job loss, relationship issues, health issues, or other external events.
Chronic stress bombards your body and mind with a constant stream of negative hormones that impact your physical and mental health in many ways. Physically, long-term stress contributes to issues like cardiovascular disease, headaches, and chronic pain; mentally, it can lead to depression, anxiety, and difficulty focusing on work projects or other tasks.
By understanding where chronic stress comes from and how it influences our lives, we become better able to take control and make proactive changes that support our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder (ASD) is a prevalent mental health issue that revolves around trauma. It affects those who have experienced or witnessed serious harm or a threat of harm, such as natural disasters, accidents, acts of violence, or military combat. As the name suggests, ASD is characterized by feelings of intense fear and distress that rapidly come about as part of an acute reaction to a traumatic event.
ASD symptoms can include difficulty concentrating, intrusive thoughts and memories related to the triggering event, flashbacks in which the person relives stressful experiences, and avoidance of activities and places associated with the trauma. Like many aspects of ASD, these symptoms are similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While ASD and PTSD share many characteristics, there are also key differences between them, namely the timeframe in which they develop.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Like ASD, PTSD develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It is marked by flashbacks, avoidance of the reminders of the traumatic event, and increased negative emotions, such as guilt and fear. Those suffering from PTSD may also experience sleep disturbances, irritability, difficulty concentrating, or physical symptoms like headaches and chest pain. It’s important to note that, unlike ASD, symptoms of PTSD might not show right away. In fact, some people don’t experience symptoms until months after the event.
Learning about the different types of stress-related disorders helps you understand the impact stress and trauma can have on our thoughts, emotions, and physical health. With this information, you can identify stress disorders early on and find the help you or your loved one deserve.