AQA Psychology - Unit 2 - Biological Response to Stress

The Body's response to Stress.

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  • Created on: 05-02-12 13:39
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The Body's response to Stress ...
The Cortex is the outside crinkly layer of the brain, and that will
perceive threat from outside you.
It will send instructional signals down to the Thalamus, to the very
important double act of the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary glands,
together they control all the chemical activity in your body. The
Adrenal glands sit on top of your Kidneys.
There are two different ways in which your body responds to
The Acute response represents our immediate response to danger,
and we characterise this as the Fight or Flight response. The reason
it can be immediate is that we have a direct nerve link from the
Hypothalamus into the adrenal gland, Adrenal Medulla. This is
electrical, or a Neural link, and it is very fast, it is like our body's
own broadband. It is part of the Sympathetic Nerves System (SNS).
The adrenal medulla will release hormones like Adrenaline and
Noradrenaline, which allows us to release energy for immediate
reaction. This response is sometimes called the SAM response
(Sympathetic Adrenal Medulla), because of the sympathetic nerve
connection to the adrenal medulla.
The Chronic response to stress is a little more complicated, as it
involves a chain of chemical reactions, which are Hormonal in nature.
This means, although it may be longer lasting, it takes longer to get
going, so we can't rely on this for any type of fight and flight
response. The hypothalamus produces a chemical called
Corticotrophin Releasing Factor (CRF), and is picked up by the
Pituitary gland, which is turn, produces another hormone ­
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH). This is then passed onto our
Adrenal Cortex which produces Cortisol. This pathway is called the
PAS response (Pituitary Adrenal System), sometimes called HPA .


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