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What are the stages involved in the General Adaptation Syndrome model for stress reaction?

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Stage one: alarm When the threat or stressor is identified or realised, the body's stress response is a state of alarm. During this stage adrenaline will be produced in order to bring about the fight-or-flight response. There is also some activation of the HPA axis, producing cortisol. Stage two: resistance If the stressor persists, it becomes necessary to attempt some means of coping with the stress. Although 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. Stage three: exhaustion In the final stage in the GAS model, all the body's resources are eventually depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function. At this point the initial autonomic nervous system symptoms may reappear (sweating, raised heart rate etc.). If stage three 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 itself in obvious illnesses such as ulcers, depression or even cardiovascular problems, along with other mental issues.

General adaption syndrome: a model of stress experience, consisting of three stages: alarm reaction, resistance, and exhaustion
  • Alarm reaction: when a threat or challenge activates the physiological stress response
  • Resistance: activates various biochemical, psychological and behavioral mechanisms that gives us more energy and engage coping mechanisms to overcome or remove the source of stress; some elements of the body's immune system are suppressed while others react in erratic ways
  • Exhaustion: when our limited resistance capacity collapse; can lead to physiological and psychological damage
    - at this point people experience Job burnouts: the process of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment resulting from prolonged exposure to stress; this causes people to feel
    > Emotional exhaustion: lack of energy, tiredness, and a feeling that one's emotional resources are depleted
    > Cynicism (depersonalization): an indifferent attitude towards work, strictly follow rules and regulations rather than adapt to the needs of other
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