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Is there any non-medical test to measure stress?

By | October 21st, 2020

There are questionnaires, which probably work as good as, if not better than, medical tests. The medical tests only examine cortisol in the blood, but we no longer believe it’s super accurate because it’s not a great predictor. Cortisol is the endpoint of a sequential secretion of a bunch of hormones, and we’ve always thought about cortisol as the biological measure of your stress. But it turns out that with chronic stress, depression, and PTSD, you actually have less of the hormone in your brain, and the worst PTSD patients are the ones that don’t have this increase of cortisol with acute stress. So, cortisol is hardly ever used as a marker now. The other thing people use are galvanic skin responses but that’s also a not very linear relationship, so those stress questionnaires are the best ways to assess one’s stress.

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