Episode 70: Your brain on drugs: The impact of acute stress on decision making

Situational Awareness Matters Radio

  Situational Awareness Matters     Situational Awareness Matters Radio

 

 

 

BrainOnDrugs1This episode discusses some of the ill effects that can impact situational awareness and decision making as a result of stress.

Length: 30 minutes.

 

The tones go off for a reported residential dwelling fire with entrapment. Your heart begins to pound, your respirations increase and you get a burst of energy. You may even perspire as you don your gear in preparation for the response. You can thank your  hypothalamus for that. This small organ in your brain chatters off messages when it senses stress and other organs respond by releasing drugs… hormone… peptides… neurotransmitters… drugs. One of those drugs is Epinephrine, released by the Adrenal glands which are located on the tops of your kidneys.

You are experiencing a stress reaction that is chemically induced and designed with a singular, Darwinian purpose – Survival.

  • Your brain is on drugs.
  • Hereditary instincts kick in.
  • Rational judgment impaired.
  • Intuitive judgment dominates (primal).
  • Attention narrows.
  • Hyper vigilant.
  • Struggle to understand and process complex information and details.
  • You will revert back to behaviors that are comfortable, routine, or reflect your habits.

Suffice it say… stress changes brain function and the more you know about how… and why… the better prepared you will be to take advantages of your brain’s focus on survival… including the good and bad effects of stress.

 

Intro music

Safety Dance (1982)
Men Without Hats
GMC – Virgin Records

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The mission of Situational Awareness Matters is simple: Help first responders see the bad things coming… in time to prevent bad outcomes.

Safety begins with SA! 


Share your comments on this article in the “Leave a Reply” box below. If you want to send me incident pictures, videos or have an idea you’d like me to research and write about, contact me. I really enjoy getting feedback and supportive messages from fellow first responders. It gives me the energy to work harder for you.

Thanks,

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Email: Support@RichGasaway.com

Phone: 612-548-4424

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