Discussion Questions

A. Explain what is meant by the term ‘sensitization’ in the context of behaviours and neurobiological changes? What are the implications of sensitization with respect to physical and mental health?

B. What is the difference between adaptation and allostatic overload in response to a chronic stressor? How might allostatic overload come to increase the occurrence of mental and physical illnesses?

C. Because cortisol is often released in response to stressors, an equivalence was made so that cortisol was viewed as being negative. Does this make sense? Does cortisol actually have negative actions, or does it help us deal with stressors.

D. Describe what is meant by the social sensitivity view of oxytocin. Doe oxytocin help us deal with stressors and in which ways?

E. How does immune system functioning differ in the context of acute versus chronic stressors?

F. Is anxiety an inherently negative emotion or can anxiety have beneficial effects? When should anxiety be considered to be an illness?

G. It has been said that when something seems to explain everything, it actually explains nothing. Does the fact that microbiota have been implicated in dozens of disease conditions make you at all suspicious about the actual role of these bacteria in relation to diseases or, conversely, in relation to well-being?

H. Personality traits have been related to several stress-related mental illnesses. Yet, the data concerning personality characteristics have less often been tied to physical illnesses. What might account for the paucity of data linking these?