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Extra resources for A Clinical Guide to the Treatment of the Human Stress Response 2nd Edition (Springer Series on Stress and Coping)
The “Fight-or-Flight” Response—The Neuroendocrine Axis. In 1926, the same year that Selye first described the “syndrome of just being sick,” physiologist Walter Cannon first wrote about a phenomenon that he termed homeostasis, described as the effort of the physiological systems within the body to actively maintain a level of functioning, within the limits of tolerance of the systems, in the face of ever-changing conditions. Homeostasis was the adaptational effort of the body to stay in balance.
From his early efforts, it was clear that the work of Cannon was to parallel and augment that of Selye in terms of understanding the psychophysiological stress response. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE HUMAN STRESS RESPONSE 33 Cannon wrote extensively on one particular aspect of the ANS’s role in the stress response—the neuroendocrine process. He researched what he termed the “fight-or-flight” response. The pivotal organ in this response is the adrenal medulla—thus giving this response both neural ANS and endocrine characteristics (Cannon, 1914, 1953; Cannon & Paz, 1911).
2. Distress without effort activation of the HPAC response system. 3. Effort with distress activation of both SAM and HPAC. The most extreme variation of the human stress response is, arguably, posttraumatic stress. The codified variant of this response is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the subject of a specialized review in Chapter 20. Nevertheless, we believe it warrants mention in this discussion of physiological mechanisms because of complex and often contradictory findings. In PTSD, both the adrenal medullary catecholamine axis and the HPAC pathways are implicated in PTSD.