General Adaptation Syndrome
General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is the body's short-term and long-term reactions to stress.
Hans Selye (1907–1982) model of stress is dividing stress into eustress and distress. His theory states that the general adaptation syndrome involves two major systems of the body, the nervous system and the endocrine system, and outlines three distinctive stages in the syndrome's evolution.
General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is universal response to the stressors consists of three stages. The body's stress response is a state of alarm, when the threat or stressor is identified or realized. The alarm reaction (AR) is the immediate reaction to a stressor.
In the initial phase of stress, humans exhibit a “fight or flight” response, which prepares the body for physical activity, with possible decrease the effectiveness of the immune system, making persons more susceptible to illness during this phase. During this stage adrenaline will be produced in order to bring about the fight-or-flight response.
Resistance is the second stage. The stage of resistance (SR) is the stage of adaptation. When the stress continues, the body adapts to the stressors. Changes at many levels take place in order to reduce the effect of the stressor.
If the stressor persists, it becomes necessary to attempt some means of coping with the stress. The body begins to try to adapt to the strains or demands of the environment. The body cannot keep this up indefinitely, so its resources are gradually depleted.
Exhaustion is the final stage in the GAS model, when all of the body's resources are eventually depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function. The stage of exhaustion (SE) is the third stage, when the body's resistance to the stress, including immune system effectiveness, may be gradually or dramatically reduced. At this point the initial autonomic nervous system symptoms may reappear (sweating, raised heart rate etc.).
If this stage of exhaustion is extended, long term damage may result as the capacity of glands, especially the adrenal gland, and the immune system is exhausted and function is impaired resulting in decompensation.
The result can manifest in cardiovascular problems, difficulties with the digestive system or obvious illnesses such as ulcers, depression, diabetes, or mental illnesses.
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