Free Essay about Stress: Stages of General Adaptation Syndrome

Published: 2022-06-20
Free Essay about Stress: Stages of General Adaptation Syndrome
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Stress
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 574 words
5 min read

Stress refers to the emotional, physical and behavioral changes in oneself in the occurrence of external stimuli, for example, social factors such as; poverty and job stress, knock feelings. The degree of damage in individuals varies from one person to the other depending on the ability of the victim to absorb the shocker. The advisable approach to this condition is one to be calm when encountering such challenges. General adaptation syndrome has three major stages as discussed by Selye in 1956 (Ciccarelli & White, 2012). These include:

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Alarm Stage

This stage involves the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system which then releases adrenalin from the adrenal gland that in turn causes tachycardia (increased heart rate), hypertension (elevated blood flow in arteries) and might also increase the blood sugar level. The forehead, neck, shoulder, arm and leg muscles contract, breathing becomes faster and shallow, enlargement of the pupil also occurs and lastly the body might become generally weak because of prolonged muscle contractions (Ciccarelli & White, 2012). The most common side effects include nausea, headache, and fever. Notably, the optimistic individual would cope with this stage, unlike pessimistic individuals who are most likely to go into depression during this first stage. After the alarm stage, the body then moves to the second stage of general adaptation syndrome.

Resistance Stage

According to Ciccarelli & White (2012), the continued exposure to the same stimuli causes the body to produce cortisol (the hormone that is responsible for stress in animals and human beings) which helps the human body to antagonize the response of the stimuli. This, in turn, normalizes the body functionality. The period lapse of this stage solely depends on the depletion of the stimuli. According to Ciccarelli & White (2012), it was concluded that the hormone cortisol released to affect the impulse transmission into the brain to detect end responses such as pain so that when a person gets hit they feel less or no pain at all.

Exhaustion Stage

In his view, Selye argues that exhaustion becomes the last stage of the general adaptation syndrome (Ciccarelli & White, 2012). In this stage, the writer suggests that the body gets depleted of its resources which may lead to contraction of diseases related to stress such as hypertension, immune suppression, ulcers, and even sometimes death of the animal or human beings if cautions are not taken into consideration. When the stimuli finally end, the parasympathetic system gets stimulated, and the body tries to rejuvenate its system, which perhaps may take the body back to its normal function.

Further, Ciccarelli & White (2012) reported that the alarm and resistance stages are experienced throughout the lives of human beings which enable them to adapt to their day to day life expectations. During exhaustion stage, the adrenal gland is thought to have ended producing cortisol failure to which harmful side effects of the hormone can be realized such as; hypertension, depression, ulcers and in more severe cases, death might occur.


In sum, the stress management begins with an individual. Notably, human should be optimistic and not pessimistic about emotional, physical and behavioral challenges they go through to be safe from the consequences of stress. Besides, individuals experiencing physical symptoms that they think are related to stress should work on managing such symptoms and talk to their doctors about the appropriate ways of doing what they can to safeguard their health.


Ciccarelli, S. K., & White, J. N. (2012). Psychology. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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