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Understanding Chronic Stress

The Stress Response

There are many stressors in our fast-paced world, including familial, financial, work-related, and interpersonal stress. When faced with stress, the body first releases adrenaline to boost energy. If the stress does not subside, the body begins to rely on stored fats and sugars to provide energy. At this point, one may experience physical and mental side effects of prolonged stress, including fatigue, illness, feelings of panic, cognitive issues, and sleep trouble.


Chronic Stress

When stress becomes chronic, it means that one is under stress so often, that the body is unable to produce enough adrenaline and other resources to meet the energy demand. Chronic stress manifests into symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, and mood and personality changes. Feeling stressed most of the time can adversely impact your cardiovascular health, lead to extreme weight gain or loss, or contribute to the development of ulcers.


Combating Stress

First, identify the source of stress.

What issue(s) in your life cause(s) you to feel stressed?

Next, examine the stress response.

When feeling stressed, what physical or mental effects do you experience?

Consider any unhealthy behaviours used to cope with stress.

Do you smoke, drink alcohol, over or under eat to cope?

Replace unhealthy behaviours with behaviour that works to ease stress.

Try exercising, meditation or talking to family and friends.

Reach out for help when you need it.

Recognize that chronic stress can be an issue too big to tackle alone.


Recovery from Chronic Stress

Dalton Associates has over 200 clinical therapists throughout Ontario, who specialize in the treatment and recovery of chronically stressed individuals. Use our Find a Therapist tool to connect with a therapist who specializes in stress, or call 1.888.245.5516 to connect with thesupport you need.



American Psychological Association (October 5, 2007). Stress Tip Sheet. Retrieved from:

Canadian  Mental Health Association (2013). Stress. Retrieved from:


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