Acute Stress Response Essay Introduction

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You’re hiking through the woods when all of a sudden you hear a stick crack. You look cautiously around for the hazard, but you see no one. Your heart starts racing. You begin to sweat. Your mouth dries and you feel butterflies in your stomach. Your hair stands on end. You feel a surge of energy and in a split second you find yourself running away from the noise. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your body just went through a response known as the fight or flight response also known as the acute stress response. The fight or flight response evolved as a mechanism enabling humans and other mammals to react quickly to potentially life-threatening dangers. The sequence of physiological response and hormonal changes allows for someone to choose between fleeing to safety and fighting off the threat. The body is very sensitive, however, and oftentimes the response is triggered by stressors that are not life threatening such as financial worries, relationship problems, and work/school related concerns. Rather than being a beneficial response, for some it has turned into a harmful response causing them more harm than good. …show more content…
When cortisol levels are too high for too long, they can cause these neurons to lose synaptic connections, so they can’t turn off the stress response and stress hormone/cortisol levels stay high (Randall). The body stays at this heightened level of stress. But that’s not it - besides the hippocampus, two other brain areas respond to high cortisol levels in maladaptive ways. The amygdala, which is a critical area for detecting and organizing reactions to threat, responds to the large amounts of norepinephrine and cortisol by working better. So when someone encounters something that may or may not be an actual threat, there is a high propensity to engage the stress

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