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Psycology » Psychiatry and psychotherapy » Psychophysiologically-oriented model of psychosomatic disorders » Fight or flight response (W. Cannon) hypersympathicotonia and muscular armor (Wilhelm Reich)

Back in the 20s physiologist W. Cannon developed a theory of emotion, considering sthenic negative emotions as defensive fight or flight response (fight-or-flight). From this perspective, negative emotions such as anger or fear, biologically feasible: they prepare the body to ensure that develop the most intense muscle activity, engaging in battle or fleeing. In this case the activation of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system - the blood ejected adrenaline that causes heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, blood flow redistribution, increase respiration, in the blood glucose level and cholesterol. All these physiological changes required by the body in order to prepare for the motor activity - thus provide better muscle with oxygen and nutrients in order to develop maximum muscular effort - to join the fight (fight) or escape (flight). This mechanism is derived from human evolutionary predecessors and it works as well as in animals. But if primitive man this mechanism is extremely important for its physical survival, then it creates a contemporary human problems alone, because in conflict with the rules of behavior in a civilized society. Indeed, in most situations, no physical aggression or simple escape in solving problems do not help. And although the person faced with unpleasant information internally tense, ready for action (and as the pressure increases, and quickens the pulse to provide muscles with energy and muscle strain), but the action itself is not happening. Same physiological changes, which are vegetative securing unreacted emotions remain. Over time, they may undergo chronization and lead to the formation of certain diseases. We can say that thus according to this model cause psychosomatic disorders lies in the contradiction between biological and social evolution of man.

Then what type of protective and instinctive reactions included in a stressful situation - fight or flight - depends not only on the situation, but also on the individual-typical individual. This particular characterological and psychobiological, and at the deepest level - specific metabolism. Known Frankenhoyzer described M. (1970) division of people into lions, who under stress increases blood levels of norepinephrine and which react primarily by the type of struggle, and rabbits, which in similar circumstances increased levels of adrenaline, and at the behavioral level of the response observed getaways. People of mixed type (according to V. N.Vasilevu) occupy an intermediate position between the types described under stress characterized mainly anxious-passive behavior.


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