Stress is a natural response to challenging situations that can have physical and emotional manifestations. It can result from pressure, threat, and a lack of control. While short-term stress can be beneficial, chronic stress can adversely affect mental and physical health. Effective stress management is crucial for maintaining overall well-being. It's important to note that stressors vary between individuals, and what may be a minor inconvenience for one person can be a significant stressor for another. Identifying the root causes of stress and addressing them is a vital step toward managing and reducing stress levels.
What causes stress?
Stress can be caused by a wide range of situations and events, both positive and negative. Some common causes include:
- Life changes, such as moving, starting a new job, or getting married.
- Major events, such as natural disasters, illness, or the death of a loved one.
- Chronic or long-term abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual.
- Work-related stress, such as meeting deadlines, dealing with high-pressure situations, or experiencing discrimination or harassment.
- Financial stress, such as struggling to make ends meet or dealing with debt.
- Relationship stress, such as conflicts with family, friends, or partners.
- Health-related stress, such as dealing with a chronic illness or injury.
- Social stress, such as discrimination, hate, or abuse.
Understanding stress, its causes, and its symptoms and employing effective stress management techniques can help people regain control of their lives and improve their overall health.
What is the difference between acute and chronic stress?
Acute stress and chronic stress are two different types of stress that have different causes, symptoms, and effects on the body.
- Acute stress is a normal and natural response to a specific event or situation, such as a car accident or a job interview. It typically lasts for a short period of time, usually a few minutes to a few hours, and generally less than a few weeks. The body's "fight or flight" response is activated during acute stress, releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to help the body respond to the perceived threat.
- Chronic stress, on the other hand, is long-term stress that lasts for extended periods of time or keeps recurring. It can be caused by ongoing stressors, such as a difficult job, a toxic relationship, or financial difficulties. The body's "fight or flight" response is also activated during chronic stress, but the constant release of stress hormones can have negative effects on the body over time, such as increasing the risk of heart disease, depression, and anxiety.
It's important to recognize the difference between acute and chronic stress, as they require different approaches to manage and reduce stress. Acute stress can be managed by addressing the event or situation directly, while chronic stress requires ongoing coping strategies to address the underlying causes of stres
What are some symptoms of stress?
- An increase in feeling the "fight-or-flight" response
- Rapid heart rate
- Tense muscles
- Deactivating bodily functions that are not important in that moment (such as digestion)
- Release of adrenaline
- Chest and body pain
- Increased heart rate
- Brain fog
- Trouble sleeping
- Dizziness or shaking
- High blood pressure
- Jaw clenching or grinding
- Stomach or digestive issues
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weak immune system
- Anxiety or irritability
- Panic attacks
The following can be signs of unmanaged stress:
- Drinking alcohol too much or too often
- Overeating or developing an eating disorder
- Participating compulsively in sex, shopping, or internet browsing
- Using drugs
**Overlooked symptoms of stress can be certain habits or compulsion.
It's important to note that different people may experience stress differently and may experience different symptoms. It is important to seek professional help if you suspect that you may be experiencing symptoms of stress.
How is stress treated?
Stress can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the severity and underlying causes. Conventional medicine often uses medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to treat symptoms of stress. Other recommended treatments include 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 be more easily tolerated. The process starts with an assessment of the patient's history and testing with the BioScan SRT. Identifying 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 are important to determine. Treatment may include diet recommendations, lifestyle changes, traditional Chinese medicine and a combination of supplements and herbs tailored to the individual's needs.
Acupuncture is a natural and holistic approach to managing stress. The practice of acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, known as acupoints. This helps to stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms and can provide relief from stress-related symptoms. It is believed to have a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. This can help to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of stress, such as tension headaches, muscle aches, and irritability. Acupuncture can also help to correct dysfunctional sleep patterns, which is often a problem for people who are under stress, as well as improve circulation and boost the immune system which can help the body to better cope with stress. A feeling of overall well-being can be achieved by treating the root cause of stress which is often due to an imbalance in the body.
Acupuncture can be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as herbal medicine, dietary recommendations and lifestyle advice to help manage stress.