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Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers Essay, Research Paper

Kim Hiatt

PSY.451

Olmsted

Reading reflection

Why zebras don’t get ulcers

I thought this article was very interesting. The first point the author talks about is the different types of stress. The first that is mentioned is acute physical stressors, second is chronic physical stressors and third is psychological and social stressors. Essentially, we as humans live well enough and long enoughand are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purley in our heads. The author also states that a large body of evidence suggests that stress-related disease emerges, predominantly, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for monthes on end.

The idea of homeostasis is brought up which is the idea that our body has an ideal set point or level, which it tries to maintain. In recent years a new idea called Allostasis has come to light. Allostasis refers to the notion that different circumstances demand different homeostatic set point and that maintaining what ever an optimal set point might be typically demandsfar flung regulatory changes throught the body instead of just local adjustments.

Another interesting point im this article is that of anticipation. We as humans can turn on the stress- response by just thinking about potential stressors that may throw us out of allostatic balance. Thus the stress- response can be mobilized not only in response to physical or psychological insults, but also in expectation of them. In the past a researcher named Selye formalized two ideas: 1) The body has a surprising similar set of responses (which he called the general adaption syndrome) to a broad array of stressors. 2) Under certain conditions stressors will make you sick.

During stress, sexual drive decreases in both sexes; females are less likely to ovulate or to carry pregnancies to term, while males begin to have trouble with erections and secrete less testostrone. Along with these changes, the immune system is supressed during stress in order to save energy. Also, in times of extreme physical pain, with sufficiently sustained stress, our perception of pain can become blunted. Finally during stress, shifts occur in cognative and sensory skills, your senses become sharper and memory is increased.

To me it seems that we as humans think too much. If just the slightest thought about a stressful evenr or situation can cause us stress responses in our boby I can see why prolonged periods of stress can have detrimmenaleffects. The question that still remains to me is what can you do to stop the thoughts that cause such stress? Why can’t our bodies being as smarts as they are determine real stress from stress that is just created through thought? Can any medications be given to calm


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