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Outline two ways in which to body responds to stressors.

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Stress- essay 1 1a) Outline two ways in which to body responds to stressors. Acute stress and the SAM system. Immediate (acute) stressors arouse the autonomic nervous system. This system is necessary because some bodily functions, such as your heart beat, might not work very reliably if you have to think about them. Chronic stress and the HPA axis. If stress continues (becomes chronic), then the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is increasingly activated. An important part of the - the hypothalamus stimulates another important part of the brain - the pituitary, to secrete a hormone called adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce a hormone called cortisol. b) Describe one physical approach (e.g. drugs, biofeedback) to stress management. The body's response to stress can be treated by directly treating the body with drugs. Drugs that combat anxiety are called anti-anxiety or anxiolytic drugs. The group of drugs most commonly used to treat anxiety is benzodiazepines (BZs). These are sold under various trade names such as Librium, valium, halcyon and xanax. BZs slow down then activity of the central nervous system. ...read more.


Oxytocin is secreted by men and women as a response to stress. Individuals with high levels of oxytocin are calmer, more relaxed, more social and less anxious. Oxytocin has been shown to lead to maternal behaviour and to affection. This might explain why under stressful situations women seek the support of others, which further serves to reduce their stress levels. This finding has been supported by Hastrup et al (1980), who found that women showed lowered stress responses when their cardiovascular reactions were tested during the time of their menstrual cycle. At this time their levels of oestrogen (which is released at times of stress in women, and lowers blood pressure) were highest, and therefore it would seem that oestrogen might also be reducing the stress - a biological explanation for why women are less stressful. Social explanations Males have social support, more unhealthy habits and more stressful occupations. All of these factors can explains why men are more prone to cardiovascular disorders than women. In terms of social support, research shows that women are more likely to have confidantes and friends that men, and women report making use of social support networks more than men (Carroll, 1992) ...read more.


heart rate, blood pressure). on 5 out of 6 measures females actually had a higher reactivity to both stressors. Early research on the impact of stress emphasized the 'fight or flight' response as being a universal reaction to stressful situations. Most laboratory studies of physiological reactions in response to stress have been carried out on males. Likewise, field trials of anti-anxiety drugs have often found that women report more side effects then men when taking these drugs, it has been dismissed as a greater tendency among women to report physical symptoms. Research by Taylor et al (200) provided support for the contention that gender differences in the reaction to stress may be rooted in air evolutionary history. The value of the 'fight or flight' response to male survival has led to the development of higher levels of cardiovascular performance. Females are in a biological investment when they are pregnant and nurse their offspring. The maternal investment in offspring should result in the selection of female stress responses that do not jeopardise the health of the female or her offspring and maximize the likelihood that they survive. Taylor et al's research found evidence that male and female sex hormones activate behaviours that conform to these predicted gender-related differences in stress reaction. ...read more.

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