General Adaptation Syndrome
Scientist Hans Selye (1907-1982) introduced the General Adaptation Syndrome model in 1936 showing in three phases what the alleged effects of stress has on the body. In his work, Selye - 'the father of stress research,' developed the theory that stress is a major cause of disease because chronic stress causes long-term chemical changes. He observed that the body would respond to any external biological source of stress with a predictable biological pattern in an attempt to restore the body’s internal homeostasis. This initial hormonal reaction is your fight or flight stress response - and its purpose is for handling stress very quickly! The process of the body’s struggle to maintain balance is what Selye termed, the General Adaptation Syndrome. Pressures, tensions, and other stressors can greatly influence your normal metabolism. Selye determined that there is a limited supply of adaptive energy to deal with stress. That amount declines with continuous exposure.
“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older.” ~ Hans Selye
Going through a series of steps, your body consistently works to regain stability. With the general adaptation syndrome, a human’s adaptive response to stress has three distinct phases:
ALARM STAGE -
Your first reaction to stress recognizes there’s a danger and prepares to deal with the threat, a.k.a. the fight or flight response. Activation of the HPA axis, the nervous system (SNS) and the adrenal glands take place. During this phase the main stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, is released to provide instant energy. If this energy is repeatedly not used by physical activity, it can become harmful. Too much adrenaline results in a surge of blood pressure that can damage blood vessels of the heart and brain – a risk factor in heart attack and stroke. The excess production of...
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