Chronic Stress & Related Issues

Stress can come from many different places and be short-lived or long-lasting. It has become a national health crisis and has tripled in severity over the past few decades.  Based on the factors contributing to your stress, your individual symptoms & treatment may vary.   

Acute Stress   

Acute Stress is short-lived. It can be beneficial and create motivation. For example, when a deadline is approaching, stress may help you to focus and complete your task before the deadline. College students use this type of stress often to complete projects and "cram" for exams. Acute stress is the type of stress many people feel when they have a car accident, have trouble at work or their children have problems in school. Once the situation is resolved, the stress diminishes.   

There can, however, be some physical symptoms of acute stress. 

These include:  

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches or indigestion
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain  

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, especially if the situation is not going to be resolved in a short period of time.   Cognitive therapy is the most effective for stress-related concerns.

Chronic Stress   

Chronic, or long-term stress, comes about 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. Although resolved, the feelings surrounding the situation may not have been dealt with and chronic stress remains.   There may also be an ongoing situation, such as work, family abuse, relationship problems, dysfunctional home or an ongoing illness in the family.   

This stress has the ability to create additional health problems, for example heart disease, adrenal burnout, addictions stomach ulcers & other health concerns.  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 period of time.