April is Stress Awareness Month and mental health charity Turn2Me is raising awareness of the types of stress people can suffer from.
“Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances,” said Suzanne Ennis, Clinical Manager at Turn2Me. “In shorter periods, stress can be helpful by keeping you alert, focused, and energetic. Acute Stress describes the development of specific fear behaviours that last from three days to one month after a traumatic event. This is the classic flight-or-flight reaction.
“Episodic Acute Stress is a bit more serious. It’s the term used when someone experiences acute stress with some regularity or frequency. It often hits those who take on too much. Those who feel they have both self-imposed pressure and external demands vying for their attention, hostility and anger frequently result. Episodic stress also commonly afflicts those who worry a lot of the time, in turn resulting in anxiety and depression.”
Suzanne explained that Chronic Stress describes a prolonged and constant feeling of stress that can negatively affect your health if it goes untreated. It can be caused by the everyday pressures of balancing family and work or by traumatic situations.
“Chronic Stress leads to serious health problems, because it disrupts nearly every system in your body,” she said. “Part of what makes chronic stress so insidious is its ability to become a ‘normal’ feeling, it becomes the familiar. This pattern of enduring is what makes chronic stress such a serious health issue. Poverty, trauma, general pressure from the demands of life, and more can all cause chronic stress. Chronic stress can lead to cancer, strokes, and heart attacks, as well as violent behaviour and even suicide.”
Turn2Me offers up to six free counselling sessions to adults who are experiencing stress, as well as free weekly support groups. To sign up, visit Turn2Me.ie.