Sympathomedullary Pathway

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  • Created on: 14-03-15 19:00


Situation is appraised and perceived as a threat.

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Hypothalamus is alerted. This recognises the stress is acute so it activates the Sympathomedullary (SAM) Pathway.

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This activates the sympathetic branch of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

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This then stimulates the adrenal medulla which is part of the adrenal gland. These are located just above the kidneys.

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The adrenal medulla secretes the hormones adrenalin and noradrenalin into the bloodstream.

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This prepares the body for fight or flight and as such causes a number of physical changes, including increased respiration rate, increased alertness and pupil dilation.

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The body cannot maintain this increased level of activity for long periods of time, as it takes too much energy. After a few minutes/when the stressor has been dealt with, the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system is activated.

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This is a countershock response and serves to return the body back to its normal resting state (e.g. Reduces heart rate and breathing rate).

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