For Experts

  • Stress describes the experience a person has while being impacted by one or more stressors, often characterized by psychological distress and physiological changes (e.g., increased heart rate, shallow breathing, muscle tension).
  • Stress is a common experience and some stress can be a good thing if the stress leads to growth and adaptation; however, stress can result in psychological trauma.
  • A stressor is a physical, radiological, biological, socioeconomic, or psychological force that acts upon a person during events such as a motor vehicle accident, loss of an important relationship, loss of employment, confronting an attacker, dealing with financial loss, or adverse childhood experiences.
  • A psychologically stressful event is an episode in time during which a stressor operates on a person and causes an emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, and behavioural changes.
  • Confusingly, the word stress is often used synonymously, sometimes mistakenly, when people are referring to traumatic stress, psychological trauma, a mental health condition, or a mental disorder associated with experiencing a stressful event.
  • Stress, stressor, and stressful event are often used interchangeably to refer to a potentially psychologically traumatic event or an adverse childhood experience.

For General Public

  • Stress means the way a person feels or looks when they are affected by a stressor. 
  • Stress is a common experience and some stress can be a good thing if the stress leads to growth and adaptation; however, stress can result in psychological trauma.
  • A stressor is something that puts pressure on a person physically or mentally.
  • A person experiencing a stressful event is being impacted by one or more stressors that are causing them to experience stress. If the experience is severe enough, stress may result in a psychological trauma that can lead to a mental health condition, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Confusingly, the word stress often is used interchangeably, sometimes mistakenly, when people are referring to traumatic stress, psychological trauma, a mental health condition, or a mental disorder associated with experiencing a stressful event.
  • Stress, stressor, and stressful event, are often used interchangeably to refer to a potentially psychologically traumatic event or an adverse childhood experience.

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