General Adaptation Syndrome

November 12, 2012

General Adaptation Syndrome

General adaptation syndrome generally refers to how the body reacts to stress in the short term and in the long term. Some of the most common stressors out there nowadays usually include physical stressors, like hunger, car accidents and extreme weather conditions. However, people can also suffer from mental or emotional stressors, like a loved one’s death, a bad day at home or at work, and the failure to solve problems. Naturally, stress is only one of the causes of general adaptation syndrome. However, if left untreated, it could result in fatigue, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, and irritability. Some people might experience various other symptoms, like hair loss, too.

The Different Stages

Stage One:Alarm Reaction Alarm reaction refers to the very first stage that people go through and involves the fight or flight reaction that the body goes through to get ready for action. Unfortunately, this reaction can decrease the immune system’s overall effectiveness, as well, and make people much more susceptible to sicknesses at the same time.

Stage Two: Resistance If the stress doesn’t go away, people will usually start to adapt to their stressors. For instance, if hunger is the stressor in question, the person experiencing it might start losing interest in physical activities in order to conserve their energy and absorb more nutrients when they eat.

Stage Three: Exhaustion By this stage of the general adaptation syndrome, people have already experienced the stress for quite some time and their body’s resistance may gradually go down or collapse right away. In other words, the immune system will probably no longer be able to resist diseases and patients might fall prey to infections, illnesses or even heart attacks because of it.

The Different Treatments

As with most other stress-related illnesses out there, treating general adaptation syndrome will involve reducing stress altogether. In general, there are three categories to do this: avoiding stressors altogether; relieving the stress after reacting to its stressors; or changing how one reacts to stressors. A lot of common strategies to reduce stress include exercising, aromatherapy, massage and listening to music. A lot of psychotherapeutic approaches also try to change how patients react to stressors and usually analyze how patients respond to stress. If patients worry too much, for example, they will be advised to look at their anxieties in a different manner and identify their main goals and values, so they can take action as necessary. Ideally, though, anyone who wants to improve their levels of stress management should start by talking to a doctor that they are comfortable with, so they can discuss all of their options in the matter. One very effective approach to dealing with stress and treating general adaptation syndrome would involve adopting a grateful attitude towards life instead of seeking revenge; treating others well instead of being selfish; retaining the ability to see things in life as delightful and wonderful; finding an ultimate purpose in life and trying to fulfill it; and staying modest when it comes to achieving one’s goals.

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