The bodily response to stress

A flow chart diagram showing the bodily response to:

  • Chronic stressors
  • Acute stressors

Shows the process from perception of stressor to production of cortisol or adrenaline and noradrenalin.

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The bodily response to stress
· PVN ­ the paraventricular nucleus.
· CRF ­ corticotrophin-releasing factor Perception of
· ACTH ­ adrenocorticotrophic hormone the stressor
· SAM ­ sympathetic adrenal medullary system.
Sympathetic branch of the autonomic PVN leads to the production of a
Nervous system chemical messenger called CRF
If levels rise above normal, they initiate a reduction
in levels of CRF and ACTH bringing cortisol levels
Pituitary Gland
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland have
CRF causes the production
receptors that monitor cortisol levels.
Medulla of the
and release of ACTH
adrenal gland
activated. ACTH is transported in the
bloodstream to the adrenal glands
Adrenaline (Epinephrine) and Cortex of the
Noradrenalin (Norephinephrine) adrenal gland
Released activated.
Noradrenalin is a The Sympathetic Adrenal
neurotransmitter released by Medullary System (SAM) Cortisol, is release by the adrenal cortex
the sympathetic nervous alerts the by releasing · +ve's = quick burst of energy, lower
system. Adrenaline into the blood. sensitivity to pain.
This prepares the body for · -vs's = impaired cognitive performance,
Causes Raised BP and Cardiac fight or flight. higher BP, lowered immune response.
Output, Increased pupil size,
increased mobilisation of fat Adrenaline stops unnessesary
and glycogen in blood stream. bodily processes such as
digestion but also boosts the
supply of O2 and glucose to the


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