Types of stress

11.10.2020

There are those who suffer it occasionally and there are those who suffer the effects of stress for a lifetime. Knowing the different types of this psychological dimension will allow us to create more successful therapeutic strategies. We analyze it.

Muscle pain, insomnia, migraines, concentration problems ... There are different types of stress and knowing each one of them can allow us to handle them more correctly . Thus, and although it is true that sometimes we experience all these physical and psychological sensations at the same time as a kind of disaster box, each of these varieties has a specific trigger.

We are not wrong if we point out that this psychological condition is on the rise. Although most of us have experienced this psychological state in a timely manner, the problem comes when we do not manage it effectively. When stress is here to stay and we drag it down for weeks, months (and even years) the impact on health is immense.

We have abundant scientific literature that warns us of the risk of chronic stress on cardiovascular health. An example, research such as that carried out at the University of La Joya (California) by Dr. Joel Dismale indicates that in medicine there are many consultations related to the effects of stress . There are many people who come to relieve that headache, that pressure in the chest, those problems sleeping ...

However, if these situations become chronic and adequate strategies are not applied to manage stress, cardiovascular health may be affected. This gives us an obvious clue to the need to be much more sensitive to these kinds of realities.

What are the different types of stress?

Often, in our day-to-day lives, we frequently say that " I'm stressed!" Thus, and although that experience we live in an unpleasant way when we are under pressure and feel its effects on the body, there is something that we must consider. Stress is a normal response to "abnormal" situations.

In other words, humans, like other animals, need that psychophysiological activation to be able to respond to threats, dangers and changes in the environment . The hormones of stress , such as adrenaline and cortisol, facilitate activation of such changes that allow us, among other things, solve problems at work or overcome any difficulty vital.

Now, there are times when stress ceases to be positive and useful to become "distress." It is about that negative stress that unbalances us, that plunges us into states of defenselessness and that can adhere to us for long periods of time. Knowing the different types of stress will allow us to better understand these types of situations.

Acute stress, when life pushes us

The acute stress tends to be brief and also the most common . Having problems at work, having a strong argument with someone, being worried about a medical appointment, having suffered a robbery or witnessed an accident, etc., are an example of this typology. This type of stress is the most common and is basically defined by that mental focus that focuses on the negative or challenging event.

On the other hand, for its diagnosis we can follow the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

  • Symptoms of intrusion: the person cannot stop putting that concern out of his head for a certain time. Although, little by little, it loses intensity.
  • Symptoms associated with the state of mind : anguish, fear, restlessness ...
  • Symptoms of arousal: headaches , trouble sleeping and concentrating, difficulty making decisions ...

As we have noted, among the different types of stress, acute is the most common. In these cases, cognitive-behavioral therapy, such as cognitive restructuring strategies , relaxation techniques or imaginary exposure facilitate progress in most of these patients.

Episodic acute stress or seizure-prone personality

Episodic acute stress is linked to a very specific personality profile. We are referring to the type A personality that the American cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Raymond Rosenman defined in the 1950s. These people are defined, above all, by a very competitive type of behavior.

Also, this type of stress forms a psychological state of high wear and tear that comes and goes. That is, it seems at certain times to disappear for a few months and soon to show this symptomatology again. Let's look at the most common traits:

  • Emotional anguish: they tend to anger or irritability , impatience, bad temper, constant tension. In their mind there is a sense of urgency, of having to do something imminently for which they must be prepared.
  • Cognitive distress: Type A personality is very demanding. This guides them to have to be aware of a thousand stimuli at the same time. However, living for months with this level of arousal leads to memory problems and mental fatigue.
  • Interpersonal relationships are always problematic.
  • They suffer muscle discomfort, headache, back pain, jaw pain ...
  • Stomach and intestinal disorders.
  • Recurrent episodic stress is linked to the development of cardiovascular problems.

Types of stress: chronic stress or suffering that does not vary over time

Having spent many years in a harmful work environment where we were harassed. Suffering from a traumatic childhood. Losing a loved one and not being able to recover from that loss and what it has entailed. Have a mortgage and suffer the unspeakable to cover the payments. Being part of a family environment defined by conflicts, demands, criticism ...

These and many other situations sculpt chronic stress, one of the most troublesome and exhausting psychological conditions at all levels. They are states in which suffering is a constant, a discomfort that is gradually integrated into our lifestyle until it is completely altered and subjected to it.

  • This is one of the types of stress that can appear along with other psychological problems , such as depression.
  • People who suffer from it show insecurity and learned helplessness (feeling that no matter how much they do, their reality will not change).
  • They suffer from insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems, muscle discomfort, rapid heartbeat, concentration problems, etc.

The therapeutic approach for these patients always involves individualized care in which each particularity and need is attended to. However, on average the following techniques are very suitable:

  • Help the person understand what stress is.
  • Emotional management strategies.
  • Physiological deactivation techniques (diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and thematic imagination, for example).
  • Cognitive restructuring.
  • Assertiveness techniques.
  • Techniques to solve problems and overcome difficult moments and times of stress.

To conclude, each of these stress variants has a treatment. The most decisive thing in all cases is to request professional help early to prevent this suffering from being a constant over time.

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