PSY 492 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Cortisol, Sucker Free, Immunosuppression

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18 Oct 2016
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Understanding Stress
Stress is sometimes a naturally occurring part of life
Stressor
o An event or situation that triggers stress
Stress
o The process by which we respond to events that we appraise as threatening or
challenging
Stress arises from how we appraise and respond to situations
o Safe - Dangerous
o Normal - Harmful
o Manageable - Unmanageable
If the event or situation is beyond our ability to cope, we will become stressed by it
Often stress is more related to our appraisal of a situation than the situation itself
The Human Stress Response (Hans Selye & Walter Cannon)
o Activation of the sympathetic nervous system (parasympathetic system =
opposite)
o
Thalamus
Hypothalamus & Limbic System
Cerebral cortex (higher level appraisal)
Hormones released
o Fight-or-Flight response (Cannon)
o
Age-old response to threats
Kicked off by the sympathetic nervous system's activation of the adrenal
medulla (on the kidneys)
This releases hormones, most notably epinephrine (adrenaline) and
norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
When working with patients, this is an important concept to be able to
explain
Be able to craft your own explanation of this physiological
response
Metabolism slows down dramatically during stress; your body doesn't care
about processing a cheeseburger and will let it sit
The immune system is suppressed during stress; your body doesn't care
about fighting off germs
Inflammation can happen much more easily
YOUR BODY BECOMES SOLELY FOCUSED ON KEEPING YOU
ALIVE
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