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The Body's Response to Stress
Stressor
ACUTE Hypothalamus CHRONIC
(involves releasing hormones so takes longer ­ LONG-
(quick because it misses out hormone release ­ TERM RESPONSE ­ can last for weeks ­ months)
instaneous response ­ can only last for up to an
hour ­ SHORT TERM)
PITUITARY GLAND
Neural pathways via ANS
ACTH released into
bloodstream
ADRENAL MEDULLA ADRENAL CORTEX
Corticosteroids released
Release of adrenaline into bloodstream
and noradrenaline
Cause liver to release
stored glucose and inhibits
FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE inflammation
· increased heart + breathing rates
·Reduced activity in stomach
· saliva production inhibited (dry mouth)
· pupils dilate (expand)
· glucose released into bloodstream for more energy ­ helps in cases of…read more

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Sympathomedullary Pathway (acute response)
In initial shock response, hypothalamus triggers
activity in sympathetic branch(becomes more
active when body is stressed & using energy)
of the ANS.
Stimulates the adrenal medulla to release
adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Key words ­
Leads to fight or flight response (SNS activation). Adrenal medulla ­ gland
that releases adrenaline
Can be damaging to the body: and noradrenaline
1. Increased blood rate can lead to CHD Noradrenaline ­
2. Suppression of immune system can lead to neurotransmitter released
viral infections to activate internal body
3. Disturbance of digestive system can lead to organs
stomach ulcers Adrenaline ­ released to
prepare body for fight or
flight
ANS ­ automatic part of
nervous system
SNS ­ arouses body for
fight or flight response…read more

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Pituitary-Adrenal System (chronic response)
If stress is long-term, the body switches from the
Sympathomedullary response to the pituitary-
adrenal system, to prevent resources being
used up - works as a countershock response.
The hypothalamus releases CRH which stimulates
the pituitary gland to release ACTH, which
stimulates the adrenal cortex to release
corticosteriods, which give the body energy by
converting fat into protein.…read more

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Stress Related Illness
During times of stress the adrenal cortex produces corticosteriods, which stop the body from producing
lymphocytes (white blood cells) that attack foreign material that enters the body. This means stress
reduces the efficiency of the immune system.
Immune System Outline:
Foreign invader (4 types ­ bacteria(sore throat), fungi(athletes foot), parasites(worms), viruses(herpes))
Antigens on surface (foreign marker molecules)
Antigens recognised by white blood cells (leucocytes)
B CELLS (specific T CELLS (non-specific response) -
response) ­ produce two types:
antibodies to destroy the 1. `helper T cells' ­regulate
antigens workings of immune system
2. `killer T cells' ­ produce toxins &
kill foreign material & reject
tissue/organ transplants
Some become MEMORY CELLS ­
provide long term immunity against an
antigen by recognising and destroying it
quickly if it tries to enter the body again…read more

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GENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME(GAS)
Hans Selye explained stress as a three-stage response:
1. THE ALARM STAGE ­ when we first perceive a stressor our
body's first reaction is to increase arousal levels so that
we're ready to make any necessary physical response
2. THE RESISTANCE STAGE ­ if the stressor remains, our
bodies can adapt to the situation and cope in a normal
way, arousal levels are still higher than normal
3. THE EXHAUSTION STAGE ­ after long-term exposure to a
stressor our bodies will eventually be unable to cope with
the situation and we may develop a illness eg. ulcers,
depression, cold, CHD
Evaluation ­
+supported by a lot of scientific research
-only describes one response to stress, neglects the fact that the body reacts to stress
differently depending on how the stressor is perceived by the person
-ignores individual differences ­ some people don't get stressed easily (see later
notes on hardy personality) ­ what's stress to one person isn't to another…read more

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