Fight or Flight and the Stress Response and Schizophrenia Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1836 Words
Date:  2022-06-20


The aspect of fight or flight response also referred to as Walter Bradford Cannon describes the acute stress response as the physiological reaction with the aim of responding to a particular perceived attack or any harmful occurrence therein (Wyatt, Grummett, Geraci, & Troy, 2017). More often, the reaction acts as a response to an event that tends to threaten the survival of the human or animal therein. The response entails the occurrence of a biochemical reaction in the body of both a person and an animal when they experience intense stress or fear. During this experience, the sympathetic nervous system produces certain hormones that administer changes throughout the body of the being therein. The fight or flight response can be a reaction to a mental disorder such as schizophrenia as well. In this case, schizophrenia refers to a situation where an individual suffers a long-term mental disorder that entails the breakdown regarding the connection between thoughts, emotions, and the behavioral characteristics of the person (Weinberger, & Harrison, 2010). As a result, the break down leads to fantasy, mental fragmentation, withdrawal from the real world such as imaginations, unsuitable actions or behavior, inappropriate feelings, or faulty perception. In this case, therefore, the paper aims at giving an in-depth analysis of the schizophrenia aspect and the various ways in which the fight or flight response relates to the disorder.

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Literature on Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia exists as the most serious condition among all the mental disorders therein. This is because it is a long-term illness that is characterized by recurrent relapse and the breakdown of the human system (Tsuang, Faraone, & Glatt, 2011). Usually, the recurrent relapse creates a functional impartment on the body of the person therein. Ideally, both the genetic and the environmental factors are essential in driving the schizophrenia condition. Nonetheless, the specific factors are not clear. For this reason, schizophrenia is a less understood mental condition. Although various literature and documentaries tend to describe the aspect of this disorder, the public remains in the dark regarding the schizophrenia illness. The documentaries provide clues on the causes and the disability of schizophrenia, but the conclusive evidence is not available. Nonetheless, it is significant to evaluate the core symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of schizophrenia.

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Since the specific conclusive factors that cause schizophrenia are not clear, the diagnosis of the condition is also complicated. Nevertheless, it usually characterized by hallucinations, illogical speech, thinking impairment, lack of attention and reasoning, delusions, and failure to conform to the reality (Tsuang, Faraone, & Glatt, 2011). Besides, schizophrenia is a severe illness that entails recurrent relapse and functional impairment and thus requires a psychotic diagnosis episode that lasts for a minimum of six months. Upon being diagnosed with schizophrenia, the patient is laced under the antipsychotic medication which acts as the basis for therapy and treatment process (Roder, & Medalia, 2010). In an event where the patient fails to comply with the medication requirements, it may cause the relapse or more severe consequences (Roder, & Medalia, 2010). Despite the significant effect of the antipsychotic medications, they also have a metabolic side effect on the patient. Therefore, they require close supervision by the physician therein. The key diagnostic features of schizophrenia include illogical reasoning, hallucinations, delusions, reduced emotions, motivation or excitement, cognitive impairment, and a decline in the social functioning. For one to be declared as diagnosed with schizophrenia, these features mentioned above should be persistently present for a period of a minimum of six months. Moreover, the features should not be as a result of substance abuse, mood disorder, or any other medical condition. Schizophrenia can begin either during the early childhood or adolescence. It transpires equally to both male and female counterparts. Nevertheless, it appears to be milder to the female counterparts than male. Despite the gender difference regarding the effect of schizophrenia, the reason for the difference is not well established.

Causes of Schizophrenia

Various researches show that the ultimate cause of schizophrenia is not well known. However, the research shows that the mental condition has a close association with birth complications, epilepsy, head injury, and substance abuse. Besides, most of the schizophrenia cases run within the family. Mahoney, (2011), shows that abuse of cannabis raises the risk of suffering from schizophrenia condition.

Genetic factors

Despite the little knowledge concerning the ultimate causes of schizophrenia, the research shows that it has a strong connecting with the genetic component. Therefore, in an event where a member of the family showcases the schizophrenia disorder, blood relatives are also at risk to suffer the illness as well. According to the study by Ritsner, (2011), various chromosomes such as chromosome 5, 8, 11, 13, and 22 depict some abnormalities. Nevertheless, the findings are inconclusive as the abnormalities are not connected to a specific aspect of schizophrenia. The recent genetic studies thus tend to focus on the abnormalities depicted on these genes. As a result, the findings show that the genetical abnormalities are related to proteins that are responsible for neuronal development. For this reason, it provides a relationship between the genetic abnormalities to the neural aspect of schizophrenia.

Birth factors

Based on the research on schizophrenia, the core finding is that a higher percentage of the patients that have schizophrenia are born in the beginning three months of the year before developing the disorder. It thus creates a close association between the schizophrenia disorder and the process of birth. Other findings show that close to 20% of patient who develops the schizophrenia disorder may have been exposed to a particular birth complication at some point (Tsuang, Faraone, & Glatt, 2011). The birth complication may be in the form of exposure to influenza, severe malnutrition, fetal distress, hemolytic anemia, asphyxia, or preeclampsia. These factors relate to the pregnancy r the delivery process therein. In other cases, the fetus may face hypoxia within the birth canal. Although it causes minimal damages to the brain of the fetus, the consequences begin to manifest later in the adolescent stage as schizophrenia. The birth complications may also transpire if the fetus has some defects as well. It could be as a result of a default in the brain development of the fetus in the uterus due to wrong genetic programming. The fetus may also experience external injury such critical illness of the mother within the first three months of the pregnancy and thus affect its brain development. All these birth factors raise the risk of complicating the schizophrenia disorder (Weinberger, & Harrison, 2010).

Brain abnormity factors

The study by Mueser, & Jeste, (2011), shows that a person experiencing the schizophrenia disorder has a disturbed brain development. The findings are based on the evidence of the postmortem carried on the brain of people who had died with schizophrenia but of natural causes such as heart attack or accidents. However, if the person had died of other causes it could thus influence or create a bias on the findings of the postmortem therein. Despite the various challenges facing the research, the findings give conclusive and sufficient evidence regarding the relationship between abnormal brain development and schizophrenia. For the postmortem, the findings show that there are underdeveloped cells which appear to be misaligned within the brains of these people experiencing schizophrenia.

Fight or Flight Response

Hans Selye outlines the fight or flight response as one of the stages of the process of stress management. Hans Selye is a Hungarian endocrinologist that developed the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) theory (Frederic, Agnes, John, 2010). Ideally, the general adaptation syndrome is a theory that describes how people react to stress. For this reason, Hans Selye is commonly known as the father of stress since he was the first scholar to provide a biological explanation of how people respond to stressing events in life. Selye further asserts that a stressful situation creates an unforgettable scar in the life of the organism therein. In this case, Hans Selye provides the biological process to stress management into three distinct and sequential stages that include the alarm stage, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage (Frederic, Agnes, John, 2010). Nonetheless, not every individual encounters all the stages as the frequency and the length to which people experience stressful situations also vary. About these three stages, the alarm stages are also known as the fight or flight response (Canosa, 2013).

During the fight or flight response stage, the brain releases hormones that send emergency signals to the rest of the body parts. The signal alerts the body that there is a perceived dangerous event or an attack ahead (Thomas, 2013). As the body assembles to react to the situation, the person can choose the fight or flight mode as a way to respond to the situation on the safest way possible and the interest of the person therein. For instance, in the event of hearing gunshots within the vicinity, a person may choose the fight mode by confronting the shooter. Alternatively, the individuals can choose the flight response my fleeing from the scene to avoid being hurt. In this scenario, according to the brain, any of the choices represent the likely responses that are to the best interest of the person making the decision. During the fight or flight response stage, the human nervous system is always ready to either fight or flight. As a result, the heart may begin to beat faster and thus providing more blood and oxygen to the arms and legs contributing to the fast response. It is commonly evident in most situations where a person is faced with a dangerous event (Wester, 2011). For instance, while taking a night walk, one may be faced by an armed thug who demands money. If the brain suggests a fight mode of response, the person may try to fight the thug and take away the arms. On the other hand, the brain may suggest a flight mode where the person may either just run away or give the entire money and run away. In a case where the brain suggests the flight mode, the heart begins to beat faster and thus pumping more blood to the legs. As a result, it provides more oxygen and energy to get away quickly (Wester, 2011).

The relationship between Schizophrenia and the Fight or Flight Response

Every person experiences the fight or flight response whether they have schizophrenia or any other medical condition. Ideally, the fight or flight response is an inherent aspect within a person that occurs in reaction to stress or a panic attack. The reaction is released by the nervous system of the person therein. The panic attack is as a result of an overreaction in the sympathetic nervous system leading to the suggestion of the fight or flight response from the brain (Wyatt, Grummett, Geraci, & Troy, 2017). Sometimes, the fight or flight response may occur unnecessarily in case of panic attacks. The human neural system has a stimulated sympathetic system where they can control it if the fight or flight response happens unnecessarily. For this reason, people with schizophrenia may fail to have control when the fight or flight response occurs unnecessarily due to the breakdown and poor...

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Fight or Flight and the Stress Response and Schizophrenia Paper Example. (2022, Jun 20). Retrieved from

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