A biological response to a threat is known as stress. It is provoked by hormones and chemicals that surge in the body. This is considered a normal reaction that can help with a particular problem. However, increased stress episodes can harm you. In normal circumstances, after response the body relaxes.

Are All Stress Types Bad?

However, not every time we hear about stress, it means that it is something bad. Stress is helpful in many cases for example to avoid an accident. Anyone feel stressed at times but people usually react differently to the same thing. For example, some may find public speaking stressful while others love it. Another example of good stress is the wedding day.

In any case, the stress should be temporary. Otherwise, it may lead to certain mental and physical problems. Moreover, this is quite common in the U.S. because approximately 80% of people reported they experienced at least one stress symptom last month and 20% were under extreme stress.

It is not possible to eliminate stress at all but we can learn how to avoid it and manage if to avoid is not possible.


A biological reaction to potentially dangerous experiences is called stress. In cases of sudden stress, the brain floods the body with hormones and chemicals (including Adrenaline and Cortisol). As a result, the heart rate increases, sending blood to muscles and essential organs. When it happens you will feel energized.

Stress Hormones

The hypothalamus reacts when an individual senses danger. Thereafter, it sends hormones to the adrenal glands, which begin the release of an abundance of hormones. This is a natural way that your body prepares you to face danger and elevates your survival chances. One of the hormones that are released at that moment is called Adrenaline (also known as Epinephrine). This hormone works to:

  • Increase breathing and heart rate
  • Make for muscles to use glucose easier
  • Contract blood vessels
  • Stimulate perspiration
  • Inhibit insulin production

In any case, the following symptoms and health problems can occur if a person experiences frequent Adrenaline surges. Examples include:

While Adrenaline is important, it is not considered the main stress hormone because Cortisol is.

Stress and Cortisol

Cortisol is the main stress hormone and it plays a vital role when people experience stressful experiences. Check below Cortisol functions:

  • Help the brain to use glucose more efficiently
  • It affects the brain’s parts responsible for fear, motivation, and mood
  • Dampening growth process and reproductive system
  • Change the response of the body’s defense (immune system)
  • Restrict functions that are not essential during life-threatening situations
  • Increase the substance accessibility that helps tissue repair
  • Elevate glucose levels in the bloodstream

Cortisol functions help to cope with stressful situations more effectively. However, if you have high levels of this hormone for a long period, it may lead to some health problems. For example:

  • Hypertension
  • Lack of energy
  • Insomnia (sleep issues)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis (bone loss)
  • Memory problems
  • A weakened body’s defense makes you more likely to get infections
  • Weight gain

High Cortisol levels can also negatively affect a person’s mood.

Stress Types

  • Acute stress
  • Episodic acute stress
  • Chronic stress

Acute Stress

Anyone can experience this stress type because it occurs when you escape an accident or ski down a mountain slope. Usually, acute stress does not harm you. These situations help your body and brain to develop good responses to other stressful experiences. In normal circumstances, when the stressful situation passes systems of the body return to normal.

Additionally, if a person experiences severe acute stress, it may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental disorders.

Episodic Acute Stress

In such cases, people have episodic stress situations that are repeated frequently. For example, professions such as firefighters and law enforcement can cause frequent high-stress situations. Some people experience episodic acute stress due to thoughts about things they suspect can happen.

However, both severe acute stress and episodic acute stress can cause mental health problems.

Chronic Stress

Increased stress levels for long periods provoke chronic stress. Those who experience chronic stress can experience certain health problems. For example:

  • Mental disorders (including anxiety, depression, and others)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Cardiovascular disease

People who have chronic stress can also notice headaches, stomach upset, sleep problems, and others.


There are different factors that can provoke stress. Check below some of them:

  • A natural or manmade disaster
  • Being a victim of a crime
  • Life-threatening illness or accidents
  • Chronic diseases
  • Dementia
  • People who live in poverty or are homeless
  • Dangerous professions
  • Military deployment
  • A job you hate or little work-life balance (working for long hours)
  • Familial stressors (such as abusive relationships, unhappy marriages, custody problems, divorce, and others)

This article does not contain all possible stress causes. However, it is advised to manage your stress because it will help to prevent or avoid physical and mental issues.


The stress symptoms usually are different among people. Check some examples below:

  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Appetite changes
  • Digestive issues
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Sleeping disturbances (insomnia)

Furthermore, people may feel irritable or fearful and begin drinking and smoking more than they used to do and it happens whether you are aware of it or not.

Stress Management

However, getting rid of stress is impossible but it is not needed because stress can be healthy and help in some cases. The first step in your stress management is to identify the cause or trigger and try to avoid them. Managing your stress can help to decrease the risk of stress-related health conditions. Check below some tips that can help to reduce stress:

  • Healthy diet
  • Sleep for at least 7-8 hours per night
  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce your caffeine and alcohol
  • Learn meditation techniques (such as deep breathing)
  • Stay socially active
  • It is also recommended to make time for rest, relaxation, or self-care

In case you experience anxiety or depression along with stress, it is not possible to manage stress. Thus, you should consult a doctor to get treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common stress signs?

  • Depression
  • Uninterested in life
  • Lost sense of humor
  • Irritability
  • Nervous
  • Anxious

Discuss with your healthcare professional if you experience any of the previous symptoms.

What symptoms can cause extreme stress?

While some people experience fatigue and insomnia others can notice acne and headaches. It usually depends on the cause and the severity.

What are stress types?

  • Acute Stress
  • Episodic Acute Stress
  • Chronic Stress

Ask your doctor if you have any other questions.

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