Could somebody give me a full mark answer for the description of Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome?
I've looked at spicystrawberry and the 3 stages but my teacher also gave me his answer but it's his first time teaching the WJEC exam board and everybody last year got E's so I don't know whether to trust him or not.
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WJEC Psychology Biological Approach Selye's GAS watch
- Thread Starter
- 27-04-2013 13:52
- 27-04-2013 17:01
This is a top mark answer that my lecturer wrote for January this year So I hope this helps!
A stressor is something we think we do not have the physical or psychological resources to overcome. Selye called it ‘general’ because the symptoms of stress were universal whatever the individual cause of the stressor, ‘adaptation’ because the physiological responses reflect an attempt by the body to adapt to the stressor and ‘syndrome’ because there are a cluster of symptoms.
Selye used rats in his experiments and observed their responses to stressors such as heat and fatigue. He found that they all responded in the same way no matter what the stressor was and also that there were three stages in their stress response which he called the alarm reaction, the resistance stage and the exhaustion stage.
THE ALARM REACTION is the immediate response to stress and involves the sympathetic nervous system as well as the endocrine system, together known and the neuro-endocrine system. The hormone adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands which causes symptoms such as pupil dilation, increased heart rate and blood pressure and sweaty palms. The alarm reaction stage is the body’s response to short-term stressors.
IN THE RESISTANCE STAGE the body appears to be coping but resources are depleting / being used up. Adrenaline can no longer control the stress response so other hormones are released and the most important of these is cortisol, which is responsible for many functions which enable our bodies to cope, such as aiding metabolism. However, elevated levels of cortisol over a long period of time are harmful to the immune system, leading to illness and the exhaustion stage. The resistance stage is responsible for the body’s response to long-term stressors.
THE EXHAUSTION STAGE is where the body can no longer cope with the stressor. The high levels of cortisol cause the immune system - the body’s mechanisms that fight off disease - to be less efficient and become weak. This increases the risk of stress-related illnesses such as allergies, coronary heart disease and cancer, as well as mental illness such as depression.