There are three main types of stress: acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. Each type of stress affects your mind, body, thoughts, and behaviours slightly differently. This page discusses these differences.
If you recognise the symptoms we explore, speak to your doctor. The doctor help you get the right support to feel better.
If you are dealing with a challenging situation, you may have an acute stress response. We discuss how acute stress affects your mind and body below.
Acute stress can cause emotional distress such as:
Acute stress affects your body too. It may cause the following physical symptoms:
If you experience acute stress often, you may have episodic acute stress. Let’s explore the physical and psychological effects this may have.
Episodic acute stress may make you feel like nothing ever goes right for you. You may find life chaotic or overwhelming. You regularly feel under pressure and on edge. This exhausts you.
Over time, feeling this way may affect how you behave towards others. Feeling irritable may lead you to become unintentionally hostile. This may cause relationship problems.
If you have episodic acute stress, you frequently experience the physical symptoms of acute stress listed above. Over time you may also develop:
frequent, long-lasting headaches or migraines
high blood pressure
If you experience long-term emotional pressure, you may have ongoing stress. This is called chronic stress.
Chronic stress may make you feel:
unable to concentrate
like your thoughts are racing
a loss of control
Chronic stress may also increase your risk of other mental health problems. For example, depression or anxiety.
Chronic stress can affect your body in a number of ways. Long periods of chronic stress may:
reduce your sex drive
change your appetite
give you tummy upset
cause headaches or migraines
raise your blood pressure
irritate your skin
make you more prone to infections
increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes