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1. Nick & Bethan Redshaw 7 Biological Psychology Biological psychology is an approach or perspective concerned with explaining human behaviour in terms of physical…
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  • 1. Nick & Bethan Redshaw 7 Biological Psychology Biological psychology is an approach or perspective concerned with explaining human behaviour in terms of physical processes, including the role of genetics, hormones and the nervous system. Specific content that will be addressed within this topic are: Biological Psychology - Stress Stress as a bodily • The body’s response to stress, including the pituitary- response adrenal system and the sympathomedullary pathway in outline • Stress-related illness and the immune system Stress in everyday life • Life changes and daily hassles • Workplace stress • Personality factors, including Type A behaviour • Distinction between emotion-focused and problem- focused approaches to coping with stress • Psychological and physiological methods of stress management, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and drugs .
  • 2. 8 The Independent Learner Series - Book 2 Stress as a Bodily Response Learning Objectives WEEK 1 On completion of this unit you should be familiar with the following. 1. The body’s response to stress, including the pituitary-adrenal system and the sympathomedullary pathway in outline. 2. The immune system and stress related illness. In psychology stress is defined as the body's reaction to an event (known as a stressor) that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. Therefore, stress is the way that you feel when pressure is placed on you. A little bit of pressure can be productive, give you motivation and help you to perform better at something. However, excessive pressure can be unhealthy for the mind and body, leading to long term illness. In the UK anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems and the majority of cases are caused by stress. Interestingly, everyone reacts differently to stress, with some people having higher thresholds than others and in this unit we will look at stress and how the body responds to it. 1. The body’s response to stress When the body perceives a situation as stressful the following chain of events is triggered in the body by the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system Sympatho-adrenomedullary (SAM) pathway The hypothalamus activates the sympathetic branch of the ANS, which causes the adrenal medulla to release adrenaline and noradrenaline. These stress hormones get the body ready for fight or flight by increasing the arousal of the sympathetic nervous system and so lead to increased heart beat, blood pressure, breathing rate and inhibit digestion. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis The hypothalamus also activates the pituitary gland, which causes ACTH to be released, which stimulates the adrenal cortex to release corticosteroids, such as cortisol. These stress hormones cause the liver to increase the release of glucose and suppresses the immune system.
  • 3. Nick & Bethan Redshaw 9 Activity 1 - Use the phrases below to complete the diagram, so that it shows the role of the hypothalamus in the body’s response to stress. • Gets body ready for fight or flight. • Stimulates the adrenal medulla • Stimulates the adrenal cortex • Releases adrenalin • Releases corticosteroids • Stimulates the pituitary gland to release ACTH The Hypothalamus stimulate the liver increasing glucose release and Increased heart rate, suppresses the blood pressure, immune system inhibits digestion (6 marks) Activity 2 – The following are features of the pituitary-adrenal system and the sympatho medullary pathway. Tick the boxes next to three features of the pituitary-adrenal system. Gets body ready for fight or flight. Stimulates the adrenal medulla Stimulates the adrenal cortex Releases adrenalin Releases corticosteroids Stimulates the pituitary gland to release ACTH (3 marks)
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