Adrenaline: The Superhuman Hormone

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"I climbed out of the drivers window and saw that his leg was under the car, so I grabbed the sun roof visor, and lifted the car six or seven inches to get it out" said Kyla Smith, a 23-year-old 5' 7" woman from England. An article from the BBC ( ) described how this woman lifted a car 20 times her weight, a feat few people could pull off themselves.

In the article a psychologist said that when such traumatic events happen to a person, "What happens in an emergency is that all your physiology gets into gear and you can do things that are really quite superhuman."

This epic phenomenon that this psychologist speaks of is the effects of adrenaline, a hormone created in the adrenal gland and part of the sympathetic nervous system.
I've always been curious about adrenaline and how and why it does what it does. The most recent chapter in the Psych textbook talks about adrenaline's effects:

-It contracts our heart and constricts our blood vessels to provide more blood to the body
-It opens our airways to allow more air in
-It breaks down fat into fatty acids to provide more fuel
-It breaks down carbs into glucose which gives our muscles a jolt of energy
-It opens our pupils to enable better sight during emergency situations

The sympathetic nervous system releases adrenaline in dire situations to give us a natural advantage against whatever it is that we face. It's like beast mode, and I find it particularly interesting. Beast mode

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Green Coffee Diet from Green Coffee Diet on April 6, 2013 6:22 AM

Adrenaline: The Superhuman Hormone - PSY 1001 Spring 2012 Section 014 and 015 Read More

3 Comments

This is a really interesting article that you included here. I have heard about adrenaline being the "superhuman drug" before. A good example that I have heard from many people who have broken a bone or severely sprained something is they say that they don't feel the pain until 10 to 15 minutes after the event. It's quite interesting how adrenaline can block the pain of traumatic events. Below is an interesting video of one fireman with a similar experience with adrenaline.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=law9Yv5vtX0

I liked how you described getting a jolt of adrenaline as "going into beast mode"! Its kind of true though, that this phenomenon is almost like getting a star Mario Bros. and being able to face the situation with new "powers". It got me wondering if the effects of adrenaline varied depending on how often you experienced it. For example, would adrenaline produce more results in someone like a police officer who faced high-risk situations more often than someone that didn't?

I really like this post because of how you incorporated the story of the English woman, it helps to understand what adrenaline can do in a real life situation. I agree with you that adrenaline is a really interesting hormone to look at and I have also always been curious about the specifics behind how it works. One thing I wonder about is if there is some way to make adrenaline release in your body without being hurt or in an emergency situation? It might be helpful for other things like staying up late studying hard for a final, or something else like that. However, if it was possible to control its release then I think there would be too much potential for abuse...anyways, great post and funny picture too!

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This page contains a single entry by abexx024 published on February 5, 2012 3:37 PM.

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