The fight or flight response is caused by the adrenal glands in the body. Humans as well as animals display this response when the body is under stress. The sympathetic nervous system releases certain hormones that cause immediate changes in the body and is responsible for the fight or flight response.
Whenever the body is faced with stressor danger, the body reacts in a specific way. When we are going through severe emotions, hormones like cortisol and adrenalin are released. These hormones increase the heart rate and slow down the digestion and also shut off the blood flow to some muscle groups. They stop certain autonomous functions of the body. The body gets a sudden splurge of energy and strength. The name flight or fight syndrome is given because under stress we either fight back or run away from the danger. When the stress being faced by the body subsides, the body has the ability to automatically reverse the effects and restore its normal functions. Chronic stress is not good because the body is constantly put through these changes.
The flight or fight response is referred to as the acute stress response. It is actually a mental reaction to a situation which can cause excessive changes to the mental or physical stature. An American psychologist called Walter Cannon was the first one to describe it in 1920. Cannon observed that when the body is under severe stress it goes through a series of reactions to deal with the stressful circumstances.
The abrupt release of hormones into the blood stream activates the sympathetic nervous system. The SNS rouses the adrenal glands and causes the secretion of catecholamines. These include adrenalin and non adrenalin hormones. As a result the heart rate is increased; blood pressure spikes and the breathing also become rapid. The body takes twenty to sixty minutes to restore its balance in all these aspects. The body provides such a reaction to both physical and mental stress.
Ina stressful situation we experience fear, anger and anxiety. The body gores through several changes like experiencing a boost in the heart rate, lack of clear vision, tightening of muscle, sweatiness and sensitive hearing. These changes are a part of the flight or fight syndrome. The body is readying itself for the frequent changes that occur so rapidly. These changes also essentially keep a person alive or else the body will not have the strength to adapt to such fast changes. The flight or fight syndrome causes the body to freeze.
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