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Acute Stress Response Essay

3657 words - 15 pages


There are a compilation of many years of empirical evidence that has sought to diagnosis and treat stress and the extreme forms it. The evidence which has, persistently, perplexed scientists are the common stress reactions that are experience by normal functioning people and by those who are, actually, diagnosed with stress disorders. This research will examine acute stress response as it relates to all people who experience trauma or emotional events. The evidence brought forth by this research will define acute stress reaction and acute stress disorder, list the symptoms, and describe the differences between the two. The diagnosing criteria as described by the DSM-IV will be ...view middle of the document...

714). Acute stress response (ASR) also, called fight are trauma victims’ normal responses to abnormal events or situations (American Association for Christian Counselors). Acute stress responses (ASRs) results are “unstable and variable” (Yang et al., 2013, p.1).
Acute Stress Response and the Nervous System
In the 1920’s, American neurologist and physiologist, Walter Cannon, interpreted the chain of quick and simultaneous reactions occurring within the body to mobilize its resources to deal with dangerous circumstance as “acute stress response”. In response to acute stress the “sympathetic nervous system regulates a broad range of visceral functions and, during extreme emotional or physical states, activates both the cardiovascular and adrenal catecholamine systems for homeostatic adjustments” (Jansen, A., Nguyen, X., Karpitskiy, V., Mettenleiter, T., & Loewy, A., 1995, 644). The central nervous system (CNS) neurons responsible for dual activation of these involuntary responses are believed to be controlled “by a common set of central command neurons that provides dual projections to the sympathetic outflow systems that control the heart and adrenal gland” (Jansen et al., p. 644). These autonomic changes results in rapid increase of the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. These two biological concepts that make the acute stress response are also known as the fight-or-flight response in regard to its preparation of the body to stand and fight or flee the immediate threat (Brown and Fee, 2002, p.1594). Once the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels. Though, Cannon’s biological ideas are still taught as “a basic principle of autonomic function, it has not been possible to define the command neurons and CNS circuits responsible for this response, because of the technical limitations” (Jansen et al., p. 644).
Acute Stress Reaction
Acute stress reactions is a “diagnosis given immediately following the experience of an exceptional mental or physical stressor” (Gradus et al., 2010, p. 1578). “The biology of the responses to extreme events is complex. It involves mechanisms related to survival, learning, memory-formation, loss, and socially modulated re-adjustment and adaptation” (Shalev, 2002, p.532). Resnick et al (1992) report that the “early responses to adversity primarily reflect the intensity of the stressor” (as cited by Shalev, p. 533). According to Breslau and Davis (1995); True et al (1993), early responses, also, “reflect the effects of inherited and acquired vulnerability” (as cited by Shalev, p. 533). Grinker and Spiegel refer to acute stress responses as a ‘‘passing parade of every type of psychological and psychosomatic symptom’’ (as cited by Yang et al. p.1).
More Symptoms

Though, acute stress reactions are indicative to major disasters, accidents, and events such as serious illness and death, these responses can’t be, automatically, declared...

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