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What is Stress?

Stress is the feeling of emotional or physical tension as a reaction to situations such as when under pressure, threatened or lacking control over current circumstances. Stress can create feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety, or nervousness. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as creating adrenaline to avoid danger or meet a deadline, but chronic stress can take a toll physically and emotionally.

What Are the Causes of Stress?

Common scenarios that can cause stress can include (but are not limited to):

  • Experiencing a death of someone, or bereavement
  • Struggling to manage responsibilities
  • Meeting a deadline
  • Difficulty in the family
  • Experiencing natural disasters or events, like the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Continually having intense feelings or thoughts after an event
  • High pressure situations
  • Dramatic life changes
  • Worry and anxiety about a situation
  • Lack of control over the outcome of a situation
  • Overwhelming responsibilities
  • Lack of work, activities, or change
  • Experiencing discrimination, hate or abuse
  • A period of uncertainty
  • A physical or emotional assault
  • Chronic or long-term abuse in the past or present
  • Preparing for an event

What Is the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Stress?

  • Acute stress is usually very intense, and happens in the moment of an event, lasting only long enough to meet the end of the event. The acute stress response lasts for a short period of time, usually a few minutes to a few hours, and generally less than a few weeks. It can happen after an upsetting or unexpected event, for example, this could be a sudden bereavement, assault, or natural disaster.
  • Chronic stress lasts for a long period of time or keeps repeatedly occurring. Chronic stress would be experienced under a lot of pressure for a prolonged period of time. This type of stress occurs if day-to-day life is difficult, for example for a care giver to an ill family member or someone in a high demanding job.

What Are the Symptoms of Stress?

Acute Stress Symptoms:

  • An increase in the “fight-or-flight response”
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tense muscles
  • Deactivating bodily functions that are not important in that moment (such as digestion)
  • Sweating
  • Release of adrenaline

Chronic Stress Symptoms:

Overlooked symptoms of stress can be certain habits or compulsion.

The following can be signs of unmanaged stress:

  • Drinking alcohol too much or too often
  • Gambling
  • Overeating or developing an eating disorder
  • Participating compulsively in sex, shopping, or internet browsing
  • Smoking
  • Using drugs

How Is Stress Treated?

Conventional medicine treats the symptoms of stress using medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs as well management of other symptoms. Other recommendations can be regular exercise, practicing mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often.

At Ananta Health, Dr. Risk works with the body to reduce physical and emotional stress, so that the stressful situation can more easily tolerated. This process starts by assessing the patients’ history and testing with the BioScan SRT. It is important to identify physical causes or contributors to stress such as candida, parasites, Lyme disease, post-viral syndrome, food sensitivities and allergies or poor diet, heavy metal toxicity and environmental sensitivities need to be determined. Treatment will often include diet recommendations, lifestyle changes, traditional Chinese medicine and a combination of supplements and herbs according to each patients’ needs. 

How Can Acupuncture Help Stress?

Acupuncture can help relieve stress as it reduces anxiety, aids in correcting dysfunctional sleep patterns and increases an overall feeling of wellbeing.