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Firstly we will look at what is the fight or flight response?

This is the body’s response to a perceived threat or danger. During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released, speeding the heart rate, slowing digestion and giving butterflies in the stomach. It also shunts blood flow to major muscle groups, changing various other autonomic nervous functions and giving the body a burst of energy and strength. Originally named for its ability to enable us to physically fight or run away when faced with danger, it’s now activated in situations where neither response is appropriate, like in traffic or during a stressful day at work. When the perceived threat is gone, systems are designed to return to normal function via the relaxation response, but in our times of chronic stress, this often doesn’t happen enough, causing damage to the body.

The response of fight or flight is the body’s natural reaction to potentially threatening or dangerous situations, it is instinctive and difficult in most people to overcome. The preferred option will always be flight, individuals may freeze initially but instinct takes over and the flight takes over, which is why the early recognition of warning and danger signs is so important.

If you cannot take flight from an area due to a sudden attack or the exit being blocked, then the individual may have to consider the fight option.

In response to acute stress, the body's sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response, is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates specific glands triggering the release of hormones, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels.

If the situation comes down to fight due to being cornered or threats manifesting then the minimum use of force is definitely the last resort and that, where possible, appropriate communication and avoidance strategies should have been tried in the circumstances, but only if they have failed to defuse or prevent conflict escalating towards violence.
If a person does defend themselves and they go too far they may be liable to prosecution, but this will be covered under the use of force section later in the course.