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The Fight or Flight Response (cont'd)
Another role the hypothalamus plays includes triggering the pituitary gland (P) to secrete adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) into the bloodstream. Responding to ACTH, the adrenal glands (A) (which sit on top of your kidneys) release cortisol (a glucocorticoid) and adrenaline (also known as epinephrine). These molecules drive the "fight or flight" response, preparing your body to react to emergency situations.

fight or flight

When the body's functioning properly, it resets after a stress response. A failure to reset properly can result in illness. Learn more about the fight or flight response and how the body reacts to stressors.

Jansen, A.S., Nguyen, X.V., Karptiskiv, V., Mettenleiter, T.C., Loewy, A.D. (1995). Central command neurons of the sympathetic nervous system: basis of the fight-or-flight response. Science, 270, 644-6.


This site provides some general information on the relationships between stress and health. However, your individual situation is unique. Your health care provider is best suited to work with you on a health care strategy that fits your needs. Content on this site was written by Dianne Rees, JD, PhD (last updated December, 9, 2009) and is not sponsored by third parties.