Fight or Flight Response: Positive and Negative Aspects

Subject: Psychiatry
Pages: 1
Words: 359
Reading time:
2 min

The fight or flight response is an immediate psychological reaction to attacks, life hazards, and grave dangers. First described by Walter Bradford Cannon, this defense reflex saves living beings in extraordinary situations. Meanwhile, being a form of stress, it is an exhausting process that involves all systems of the body and can cause damage to them. To investigate this matter thoroughly, I am going to define the positive and negative aspects of the fight or flight response.

The fight or flight response is caused by the release of catecholamines, and this process leads to the immediate positive development of the body. First, those who experience this reaction have an increased mental activity that enables them to make quick life-saving decisions. Second, muscle strength is highly increased, due to which a threat can be physically eliminated. Third, this process is followed by the explosion of energy so that the living beings could feel no fatigue (Ch et al., 2020). Fourth, immediate reactions make responsiveness maximally accurate, and the fifth, pain tolerance increases. Sixth, consciousness focuses on the source of danger with no distractions noticed, respectively, the protection is efficient. Meanwhile, the main benefit of the fight or flight response is that this reaction saves lives.

Apart from the evident advantages of the fight or flight response, this process is associated with certain negative outcomes. First, after the perceived threat disappears and the body returns to its prestress level, the whole organism faces severe exhaustion, dehydration, and tremor. Second, the fight or flight response leads to heart diseases, stomach ulcers, sleep dysregulation, and psychiatric disorders (Chu et al., 2020). Third, if the stressful event is extended, the body continues to secrete cortisol. Consequently, sleep disorders, poor concentration, irritability, and frustration are developed.

With positive and negative aspects taken into consideration, the fight or flight response is a specific reaction to stress that has a significant impact on a living being. This process leads to the overall empowerment of the body and brings all the vitals to their maximum, thus making survival achievable. Meanwhile, this process is exhausting and dangerous to physical and mental health with serious diseases as its consequences.


Chu, B., Marwaha, K., Sanvictores, T., & Ayers, D. (2020). Physiology, stress reaction. StatPearls.