Acute stress results from specific events or situations that involve novelty and leaves us with a poor sense of control. This can be good though because the stress hormones released help your body to deal with the situation.
Some examples are; Almost getting into a car accident or giving a speech in front of people. You feel your heart beat in your throat, you become hyper-aware of everything around you, and feel pumped. These are signs that your stress hormones are hard at work.
Because acute stress is only for a specific amount of time it doesn’t have enough time to do the extensive damage that has to do with long-term stress. The most common symptoms are:
- Emotional distress — some combination of anger and irritability, anxiety, and depression, the three stress emotions.
- Muscular problems including a tension headache, back pain, jaw pain and the muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles and tendon and ligament problems.
- Stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Transient over arousal leads to an elevation in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Chronic stress is repeated exposure to situations that lead to the release of stress hormones. This stress can cause; wear and tear on your mind and body. If the stress response goes out of whack, then other body systems like blood pressure and blood sugar stay in “flight or fight” mode.
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.
The worst part of chronic stress is people forget that its there. They get used to it. People are aware right away of acute stress cause it’s new; they ignore chronic stress cause it is old, familiar, and sometimes almost comfortable. Most people at the beginning of chronic stress to the end learn to live with the type of stress. But then at the end, they get all these types of symptoms and diseases then remember they had chronic stress. (just imagine that not knowing you have a problem with your body or forgetting about it WOW.