Stress

Stress is a common emotional, psychological, and physical response to the ups and downs of daily life. Teenagers often feel stressed out due to the physical and emotional changes that come with growing up. There are different types of stress, however, and some require additional help and professional treatment.

What Is Stress?

A reaction to pressure or a threat, stress is also called the fight-or-flight response. An automatic response in the face of a perceived danger, stress triggers a surge of the hormone adrenaline, which temporarily activates and heightens the nervous system. Even routine stress activates this physical response, in order to help a person perform under pressure. Occasional stress can serve as a healthy coping mechanism, but other forms of stress can be dangerous.

Beyond routine stress, researchers have identified two other types of stress. Chronic stress can be triggered by a negative life event, like losing a job or failing out of school. Traumatic stress is the result of experiencing a traumatic event, which can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronic stress and traumatic stress can both contribute to serious long-term health consequences. Such health effects include digestive problems, headaches or migraines, and sleep disorders. Often, chronic stress and traumatic stress require professional help.

Treatment of stress can include prescription drugs and psychotherapy. Moreover, relaxation techniques to combat a distorted stress response can help manage the problem. Examples of such techniques include deep breathing, meditation, and forms of self-hypnosis.

Sources: Medline Plus, KidsHealth, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

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