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What is Stress?. www.psychlotron.org.uk. A state of physiological or psychological strain caused by adverse stimuli (physical, mental, internal or external) that tend to disturb the functioning of an organism. . Physiological Stress Response. www.psychlotron.org.uk.

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what is stress
What is Stress?

www.psychlotron.org.uk

  • A state of physiological or psychological strain caused by adverse stimuli (physical, mental, internal or external) that tend to disturb the functioning of an organism.
physiological stress response
Physiological Stress Response

www.psychlotron.org.uk

  • Sudden and severe stress generally produces:
    • Increase in heart rate
    • Alterations in digestive activity
    • Skin becomes pale
    • Sweating increases
    • Muscular tremors
  • These responses are produced by the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPAA)
physiological stress response1
Physiological Stress Response

www.psychlotron.org.uk

The stress response occurs when we are exposed to some sort of threat.

It involves co-ordinated responses from a number of different systems and structures

Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland

Sympathetic ganglia

Adrenal cortex

Adrenal Medulla

Finish

the hypothalamus
The Hypothalamus

www.psychlotron.org.uk

The hypothalamus is in charge of the stress response.

When a stress response is triggered, it sends signals to two other structures: the pituitary gland, and the sympathetic ganglia.

Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland

Sympathetic ganglia

Adrenal cortex

Adrenal Medulla

Finish

the pituitary gland
The Pituitary Gland

www.psychlotron.org.uk

The pituitary gland controls the glands of the endocrine system.

When activated by the hypothalamus it releases ACTH, which activates the adrenal cortex.

Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland

Sympathetic ganglia

Adrenal cortex

Adrenal Medulla

Finish

the sympathetic ganglia
The Sympathetic Ganglia

www.psychlotron.org.uk

The sympathetic ganglia are connected to the internal organs. When activated they affect the functioning of the lungs, heart and digestive system.

They are also connected to the adrenal medulla

Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland

Sympathetic ganglia

Adrenal cortex

Adrenal Medulla

Finish

the adrenal cortex
The Adrenal Cortex

www.psychlotron.org.uk

The adrenal cortex releases chemicals called corticosteriods.

These have a number of functions including releasing stored glucose and controlling swelling after injury.

Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland

Sympathetic ganglia

Adrenal cortex

Adrenal Medulla

Finish

the adrenal medulla
The Adrenal Medulla

www.psychlotron.org.uk

The adrenal medulla releases adrenaline.

This hormone stimulates the sympathetic ganglia, keeping their activity at a high level.

Hypothalamus

Pituitary gland

Sympathetic ganglia

Adrenal cortex

Adrenal Medulla

Finish

fight or flight response
Ready to expend energy,

either by fighting or by running away

Fight or Flight Response

www.psychlotron.org.uk

Increase

oxygen intake

Release stored

glucose

Divert resources

away from

digestion

the fight or flight response
The Fight or Flight Response

www.psychlotron.org.uk

  • An early evolutionary adaptation that is useful in dealing with physical threats
  • Helps us deal with short-term problems that can be solved by fighting or running
  • Unfortunately, many of the threats we face in our society do not fall into these categories…
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