Title : General Adaptation Syndrome
Date: 09 Feb 22, Auth: Robert S.

General Adaptation Syndrome in Adolescents

The general adaptation syndrome is a complex process involving several distinct stages. The first stage involves a distress signal sent to the brain by the body. The brain responds by releasing hormones called glucocorticoids and adrenaline. These hormones elevate blood pressure and heart rate, and the person may exhibit symptoms like social withdrawal and inhibitions in normal activities. The second stage is known as the resistance phase and occurs when the individual experiences chronic stress.

Basically, this disorder affects a person's health by disrupting his or her immune system and making them prone to many stress-related diseases. Although these changes are temporary, they can cause long-term damage. The three stages of general adaptation syndrome include: the pre-adolescent stage, the middle stage, and the latency stage. Each stage has its own set of symptoms, and is typically triggered by the same stressor.

As a child grows and matures, the body has developed a positive stress response in response to stressful events. In contrast, a negative stress response can be devastating and last a lifetime. In both cases, a child's symptoms may be more severe and prolonged than those of a normal person. While the diagnosis of general adaptation syndrome in adolescents is difficult to pinpoint, the disease can be prevented or minimized with the proper treatment.

Children experience a positive stress response as a natural part of growing up. During times of stress, they will show various symptoms such as losing concentration, becoming aggressive, feeling fearful, and withdrawing. In more severe cases, they may develop depressive symptoms. A positive response is a sign that a child is experiencing a positive adjustment. This response may be a signal of healthy growth, or a warning sign of a future risk.

The general adaptation syndrome can lead to serious health problems, so it's important to get treatment for it early. A person can have symptoms at any stage, and a medical professional can diagnose them at an early stage. If you suspect a child is suffering from the general adaptation syndrome, he or she should seek treatment immediately. The disorder may be triggered by a variety of factors, including a stressful event. It is important to understand that a teenager's body will respond differently in each stage of the disease.

Stages of General Adaptation Syndrome 

Alarm Reaction Stage 

This is the first stage of general adaptation syndrome. During this stage, your body sends a distress signal to your brain. Your brain responds by sending a message to the body releasing hormones called glucocorticoids and adrenaline; these are also known as your “fight or flight” hormones. During the alarm reaction stage, you’ll also experience elevated blood pressure  and heart rate levels. 

Resistance Stage 

The resistance stage occurs after the reaction stage. During this stage, your body tries to thwart the changes that occurred during the reaction stage employing the parasympathetic nervous system. It typically occurs when whatever was triggering your stress has stopped.

If you remain stressed, the reaction stage will persist. In the resistance stage, your body begins to lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It also reduces the amount of adrenaline and cortisol being produced.

Your body, however, remains on alert in this stage and can easily switch back to the reaction stage if the stressor persists. At this stage, your body is simply trying to recover from the shock of the alarm reaction stage. 

Exhaustion Stage 

Stress puts your body through a toll, and the exhaustion stage occurs after prolonged stress. You experience this stage after your body has gone through an extended period of stress. Here, even if the stressor persists, your body is too depleted to continue to combat it. This is the riskiest stage of general adaptation syndrome, as you are most prone to developing health conditions here. During this stage, a person's body has already experienced enough stress. They cannot cope with it and they experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. In this stage, the person is most vulnerable to health conditions. However, they can overcome the symptoms and improve their quality of life. When a teen is experiencing the general adaptation syndrome, they must have a strong support system in place.

In general, children and adolescents are more likely to experience an adjustment disorder than adults. The normal development of a child or adolescent is accompanied by several stresses. A new environment or change can disrupt a child's normal routines. An adjustment disorder can lead to anxiety disorders and other problems in their daily life. It can be a chronic, lifelong condition if the child is not properly supported.

Has your child been struggling with general adaptation syndrome? Contact us today and get them the help they need.