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Stress5 - Stress Coping and Health The Physiology of Stress...

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Stress, Coping, and Health The Physiology of Stress The experience of stress is accompanied by many physiological changes. Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome Hans Selye , a pioneer in the field of stress research, proposed that stressors of many different kinds result in a nonspecific bodily response. He said the body’s stress response consists of a general adaptation syndrome , which has three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Stage 1. In the alarm stage , an organism recognizes a threatening situation. The sympathetic nervous system activates, giving rise to the fight-or-flight response. Digestive processes slow down, blood pressure and heart rate increase, adrenal hormones are released, and blood is drawn away from the skin to the skeletal muscles. Stage 2. The resistance stage occurs when stress continues. Physiological arousal stabilizes at a point that is higher than normal. Stage 3. If stress is prolonged, organisms reach the exhaustion stage . The body’s resources run out, and physiological arousal decreases. In this stage, organisms become more susceptible to disease.
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