I'm trying to figure out if it's possible to have a stress response without being initially, or simultaneously aroused. I'm defining stress to be physiological stress (ie. release of cortisol) and arousal to be activation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Every example I can think of, these two are not independent. In the case of "fight-or-flight," one initially activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is then followed by the release of cortisol. Or in individuals with major depressive disorder, their sympathetic nervous systems are constantly activated while cortisol is being secreted.
So, is it possible to experience cortisol release without activation of the sympathetic nervous system?