Adrenaline, the power-booster hormone, is released in the body during situations that are particularly stressful. It causes a number of reactions to occur in the body allowing the person to manage the stress at hand.
Adrenaline – the stress-triggered hormone
Adrenaline is commonly known as the fight or flight hormone because of its series of effects on the body. Hormones are released in the body for specific reasons. They generally travel in blood to get to their destination where they trigger a cascade of reactions that bring about certain changes according to what is dictated by the release of the hormones. Adrenaline serves a number of purposes, released specially during stressful situations – hence the name “fight or flight”, because adrenaline triggers the person to either stand up to the stressful situation, or to flee if need be. Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands situated above the kidneys. The glands secrete adrenaline after receiving information from the brain of stressful situations.
What does adrenaline do in stressful situations?
We all know that rush of blood flow, together with the feeling of tense muscles, as the heart beat rate increases, with rapid breathing that we experience when we are made to face stressful situations. These are the effects of adrenaline being released. Sweating is also included in these kinds of situations. Also associated with these reactions is an increase of energy which helps one to deal with the situation at hand. This energy is what would be needed to either flee from the events that have triggered the hormone rush in the first place, or to master the courage and focusing one’s attention to avert the worse of what can happen during the stressful event.
Feelings of fear and stress and the likes do not leave us indifferent – our body reacts to them, allowing us to take charge of the situation. The stressful element triggers the hypothalamus to be stimulated – this is the part of the brain which triggers other organs to release hormones to bring about certain bodily changes. This causes the hypothalamus to initiate reactions involving other hormones whereby the adrenal glands are stimuated to release adrenaline. The sympathetic system of the body is triggered into action, positioning the body into an excited state such that it is able to deal with the situation that has initially been the cause of stress. The groups of hormones released work in concert to being about the following reactions:
- Increase heart beat rate
- Increased breathing rate
- Dilation of the eye pupils
- Deceleration in digestion process
- Contraction of muscles
All of these allow the person to face the danger; or, in others, to make the decision to run away! Either way, it gives an energy boost which makes us react more readily. To run or fight, one needs to exerts one’s muscles – hence the need for increased contraction of the muscles. Furthermore, the increased ease of blood flow oxygenate muscles to a greater extent, as opposed to a calm state. Being supplied with more oxygen further allows the muscles to contract to do more work. To provide energy, adrenaline fuels the conversion of glycogen into glucose which is a great energy-booster for muscles.
That is how adrenaline fuels the energy boost characteristic of nerve-racking situations.