Biological Psychology: Stress

The Bodies Response to Stress: Outline

The Sympathomedullary Pathway

1. Immidiate stressors activate the SNS. The SNS prepares the body for fight or flight by the release of neurodreniline. 
2. This is transported to the adrenal medulla via the bloodstream and causes the release of adreniline.
3. Adreniline then increases oxygen and glucose levels and suppresses non-emergancy bodily functions. 

The Pituitary-Adrenal System

1. The hypothalimous percieves higher stressors in the brain and releases CRF.
2. The CRF arrives at the pituitary glad and causes the release of ATCH which is transported via the bloodstream to the adrenal cortex.
3. The adrenal cortex then releases Cortisol which has a range of effects on the body. Positive ones such as lessened response to pain and negetive ones such as the suppression of the immune system. 

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The Bodies Response to Stress: Evaluation

Cardiovascular Problems:

If stress responses are repeated the heart and blood vessels suffer. Increased blood pressure can lead to physical damage of blood vessel and increase the likelyhood of heart disease.


Too much cortisol suppresses the immune system - the feedback system triggered by high cortisol levels causes a reduction in CRF production however this could breakdown after prolonged periods of stress.

Individual Differences:

Males have fight or flight however females have a more 'tend and befriend' response - due to the hormone oxytocin which is commonly more sufficiant in females.

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