What is Episodic Acute Stress

Most people experience stress at some point in their lives. For some, stress is occasional and short-lived. But for others, stress is a regular occurrence and can be pretty debilitating. This type of stress is known as episodic acute stress. Episodic stress can affect anyone, but it tends to affect people under a lot of pressure – like those juggling work and family responsibilities or students preparing for exams. If you’re experiencing episodic stress, there are steps you can take to manage it and improve your quality of life. Keep reading to learn more.

The Symptoms

This type of acute stress can be broken down into cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral categories. These symptoms fall under one of the following categories:

Mental Symptoms

Confusion, difficulty concentrating, distractibility.

Emotional Symptoms

Anxiety, agitation, nervousness, restlessness.

Physical Symptoms

Dizziness, feeling faint, heart palpitations, high blood pressure.

Behavioural Symptoms

Crying, increased sleeping and eating, withdrawal from others.

The Causes

Episodic stress results from sudden or overwhelming situations, often associated with some pressure. As mentioned previously, people under pressure are most likely to experience episodic acute stress regularly. Therefore, if you find yourself under a lot of stress, you’re more likely to experience episodic acute stress.

How To Manage Episodic Acute Stress?


When episodic stress strikes, there are several things you can do to manage it.

Take a break

If you’re experiencing symptoms of episodic acute stress, you can accomplish a lot by simply taking a break and resting.

Talk it out

Mental and emotional symptoms of episodic acute stress can be managed by talking them out with someone you trust. This person should support your situation and understand what you are experiencing.

Be around people who care about you.

If you find yourself withdrawing from friends and family during episodes of episodic acute stress, reach out to those supportive people you spoke of earlier. They can help by providing an outlet for your stress and emotions.

Make a list of your concerns.

If you find yourself feeling anxious, list the reasons why. This may seem counterproductive at first, but writing out your concerns can help reduce their severity. By putting your thoughts down on paper, you acknowledge their existence but prevent them from taking control of your emotions.

Take a walk

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, go outside and take a walk. Exercise can help you relax and clear your head.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

If your thoughts contribute to your stress, replace them with positive ones. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t get anything done,” think “, I can do this.”

Take a break

Seriously, take a break and relax.

But what if episodic stress lasts longer than a day or two? If you’re experiencing episodic acute stress for longer than two days, it’s time to reach out for help. Not only is acute stress an unpleasant experience, but it can also trigger even worse mental and emotional symptoms – you don’t want to let them spiral out of control.

The expert advice

If you find yourself experiencing episodic acute stress for more than two days, reach out for help. Talk to a close family member, friend, or doctor about the situation. Ask for assistance and support.

Episodic stress is not an enjoyable experience, but it doesn’t have to rule your life. If you take the proper steps and remain proactive in managing episodic acute stress, you can get back to enjoying life in no time.

The Treatment

People who experience episodic stress can take steps to improve their quality of life. Lifestyle changes, like exercising and reducing your sugar intake, may help reduce the symptoms. And there are some simple coping strategies you can try at home, including:

– Take a break from whatever is causing your stress. This could mean setting aside some time to read a book or watching your favourite TV show.

– Remind yourself that you’re in complete control of your emotions and reactions.

– Visualise a positive outcome.

– Speak to family and friends about how you’re feeling, and ask for their support.

Episodic acute stress can be debilitating. But if you recognize what triggers your episodic acute stress and find coping strategies to manage it, you may find a reduction in stress levels and a better quality of life.


Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should let it take control of your life. Episodic stress can be managed and reduced, but you’ll need to work at it. Create a stress journal to keep track of your triggers and strategies, and make sure you’re taking steps to manage your episodic acute stress when it starts to get nasty.

Do you want to learn more about stress? Please read, what work stress does and The Best Guide to Avoid Being Overworked and Stressed.

And as always, keep on learning!

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