Acute Stress VS Episodic Acute Stress VS Chronic Stress

Acute Stress

Acute stress is a physical response to a perceived threat to your well being, and constitutes the most common form of stress. This is the classic “flight-or-flight” reaction. Acute stress can actually be helpful by keeping you alert, focused, and energetic. Acute stress takes place over a short duration, thus it usually doesn’t have enough time to do the kinds of extensive damage associated with long-term stress.


Emotional Muscular Stomach Physical
Symptoms Anger Headaches Heartburn Elevated blood pressure
Irritability Back Pain Acidic stomach Rapid Heartbeat
Anxiety Jaw Pain Flatulence Sweaty Palms
Depression Tendon & Ligament problems Diarrhea/Constipation Heart Palpitations
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Cold Hands/Feet
Chest Pain


Episodic Stress

Episodic Stress occurs when we experience acute stress too frequently. It often hits those who take on too much―those who feel they have both self-imposed pressure and external demands vying for their attention. In such cases, hostility and anger frequently result. Episodic stress also commonly afflicts those who worry a lot of the time, in turn resulting in anxiety and depression.

The more you can check off on the list below, the higher the likelihood that you’re suffering from Episodic Stress.


Cognitive Emotional Physical Behavioral
Symptoms Memory Problems Irritability or Short Temper Aches & Pains Eating More or Less
Inability to Concentrate Agitation, Inability to Relax Diarrhea or Constipation Irregular Sleep Pattern
Poor Judgment Feeling Overwhelmed Nausea/ Dizziness Isolating Behavior
Negativity Loneliness & Isolation Chest Pain/ Rapid Heartbeat Procrastinating or Neglecting Responsibilities
Anxious or Racing Thoughts Depression or General Unhappiness Loss of Sex Drive Using Alcohol, Cigarettes, or Drugs to Relax
Constant Worrying Moodiness Frequent Colds Nervous Habits (biting nails, pacing)


Chronic Stress

Chronic Stress leads to serious health problems, because it disrupts nearly every system in your body. Part of what makes chronic stress so insidious is its ability to become “normal” feeling. This pattern of enduring is what makes chronic stress such a serious health issue. Poverty, trauma, general pressure from the demands of life, and more can all cause chronic stress. Chronic stress can lead to cancer, strokes, and heart attacks, as well as violent behavior and even suicide. Though one of the most difficult issues to treat, it’s never too late to start undoing the damage.


Recovery Process

Working on lowering stress levels can include learning about the four A’s (avoid, alter, adapt, and accept), mindfulness (breathing exercise, meditation), and building a social support system. Stress recovery can also involve exploring the emotional causes that are contributing to high levels of stress in the first place. The best way to beat stress related problems is to come in earlier rather than later―that way recovery time isn’t as extensive or difficult. The more you can becomes aware of your specific symptoms, the easier it will be to create healthy stress reducing habits for the future.