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Fight Or Flight Response

The Fight Or Flight Response is a characteristic set of body reactions that occur in response to threat or danger. This client information sheet describes the bodily consequences of the fight or flight response.

The Fight Or Flight Response information sheet describes the bodily changes most commonly associated with the ‘fight or flight’ response. ‘Fight or flight was first described by Walter Bradford Cannon in 1929 and identifies automatic bodily responses to perceived threat. These responses are evolutionary adaptations to stay safe in threatening situations. Clients typically find it helpful to receive this (benign) understanding of causes for their symptoms.

This is a Psychology Tools information handout. Suggested uses include:

  • Client handout – use as a psychoeducation resource
  • Discussion point – use to provoke a discussion and explore client beliefs
  • Therapist learning tool – improve your familiarity with a psychological construct
  • Teaching resource – use as a learning tool during training
  • Walter Bradford Cannon (1929). Bodily changes in pain, hunger, fear, and rage. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

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