What is the fight or flight syndrome?



The fight-or-flight response was vitally important to our primitive ancestors; the pre-programmed response enabled our ancestors to deal with real danger. Their bodies gave them the adrenaline and cortisol hormonal bursts of energy necessary to fight off a real threat or to run like the wind. Fight or flight is still important to us today in true danger situations. True danger situations will always be with us, and we must possess the bodily responses to be able to deal with them. There are instances where these adrenaline and cortisol bursts are appropriate and lifesaving. We’ve all heard incredible stories of superhuman strength summoned in emergencies, like the lone person finding the strength to lift a vehicle off a person, a seemingly impossible feat. Many heroic individuals were responding to their fight response on that fateful September 11. The fight-or-flight response allows us to respond to a real emergency as we are programmed to do.

However, in the case of Panic Disorder, it appears that the fight-or-flight response is occurring in our body for no discernable reason. We’re gearing up our adrenaline and cortisol, and we’re ready to pounce into action when there’s nothing to pounce upon! Our bodies stand ready and rigid to fight, over and over again. We can see how debilitating and exhausting this pattern would be to our bodies and our minds over time. When we begin to understand the mechanics occurring in our bodies, the “fight-or-fight response” and the various types of Panic Attacks, we take a large step toward cowering this beast.


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