General Adaption Syndrome Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is General Adaption Syndrome?
The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is a physiological response to stressful events and can be observed in both humans and animals. It was first described by Hans Selye in 1936, and it explains the body’s three-stage reaction to stress. The three stages of the GAS include alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Each stage is characterized by changes in the body’s physiological systems that are meant to help an individual cope with the stressor. In the first stage of GAS, known as the alarm stage, an individual becomes aware of a stressful situation or event. In response to this stressor, their body prepares for fight or flight by releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which increase heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate while diverting energy away from non essential functions such as digestion and reproduction. This is also known as sympathetic arousal. The second stage of GAS is called resistance because during this phase individuals attempt to resist or adapt to the stressor. During this time more hormones are released such as glucocorticoids which help regulate metabolism in order to maintain homeostasis so that they can better handle whatever situation they are facing. If successful, individuals can manage their stress levels quite well during this period but if unsuccessful they may enter into a state of distress which characterizes prolonged exposure to stressors resulting in psychological damage such as anxiety or depression due to decreased coping mechanisms over time. Finally, if an individual does not successfully cope with their external environment then they may enter into what Selye referred too as exhaustion; meaning that their bodies have reached their limits in trying too deal with chronic or repeated exposure too long lasting stressors without any kind of reprieve from them. During this phase individuals become increasingly vulnerable too disease due too weakened immune systems caused by weariness from having been under constant strain for so long without restorative periods for recovery needed for physical health maintenance purposes.