Stress Leaflet Essay

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S t r e s s The physiological condition ‘stress’ can be brought on due to anxiety; stress can lead to physiological and psychological consequences. Stress can be caused by a situation, individual or object, this is known as the ‘stressor’ (MALIM et al 1998, P. 234). General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) GAS is the process that describes how a person or animal’s body changes when dealing with stress. Selye (1956) proposed two things, ‘The body responds in a similar way to a wide variety of stressors (GAS)’ And ‘Under certain conditions stressors will make you ill’ (MOXON et al 2003, p.116). There are three phases of Hans Selye’s GAS explanation. These are: o Alarm – the brain perceives a threat. Walter Cannon (1929) coined the term ‘flight or fight’. Whilst Cannon experimented with animals, he demonstrated that ‘great emotional stress made the body undergo powerful biological changes’. The body’s emergency response produces adrenaline and noradrenaline (MOXON et al 2003, P. 110). When the autonomic nervous system (ANS) releases adrenaline it allows three things to happen: - Dilation of the airways – allows a greater intake of oxygen. - Increases heart rate – allows faster circulation to certain organs. - Release of fat and glucose from fat stores – provides energy. (MOXON et al 2003, P.110). When the ANS releases noradrenaline this allows two things to happen: - Release of fat and glucose from fat stores – provides energy. - Clots the blood at an increased rate – reduces blood loss if injured. Cannon argued that the ANS initiate the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline for the animal dealing with the stressor to be more responsive to dangerous situations (MOXON et al 2003, P.110). Most psychiatrists believe that the hypothalamus (region in the brain) is the ‘starting point for the stress response’. The hypothalamus initiates a

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