Fight, Flight, Freeze – An Autistic Perspective – the Fight or Flight Response


Hey guys!  So, this week I wanted to talk about the fight or flight response, because a lot of autistic people have said that they feel as if their own personal fight or flight response is a bit easier to trigger than other people that they know.

So first, what is the fight or flight response?  The fight or flight response is part of your body’s natural defense system.  When you encounter something dangerous, your brain goes into a mode that is basically fight, flight, or freeze – the three big F’s – and it’s a protection.  Your adrenaline pumps into your system, and that’s the first thing that you feel.  You may feel your heart start to pump.  I generally … like, I’ll start sweating profusely in my palms or my armpits.  I may also get nauseous when the adrenaline hits, and if I’m about to eat and then all of a sudden I’ve got a hit of adrenaline, I am no longer hungry – I’m totally just ruined.  I may actually get digestive distress; I might even throw up if it’s bad enough.

That adrenaline in your system creates a lot of physical symptoms, even if you’re able to mentally tune all of that out.  Your body is preparing to protect you.  If there’s danger, those signals are supposed to tell you to run away or protect yourself.  But unfortunately, for some people, for different reasons, that fight or flight response might be being triggered in situations that aren’t useful, causing those adrenaline rushes to pour through your body and causing panic attacks (which also suck)!  Or just causing a lot of different unpleasant things.  So that’s that fight or flight response.  All of a sudden, you’re getting this message “Run, run!  Get away!”  And so, that’s what you do – unless you freeze or fight, and then you’re like “Fight! Fight!”  It’s a complete takeover of your mind by this adrenaline system, and all you can do is sit and wait for it to go away.

Have you experienced this?  Let me know your experiences.  What do you do to make it stop?  Alright guys, I’ll talk to you next week.  Bye!




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4 thoughts on “Fight, Flight, Freeze – An Autistic Perspective – the Fight or Flight Response

  1. Amygdala. Limbic System. This is triggered. Two things recommended: 1: testing for MTHFR genetic mutation (Methyl Folate and other supplements can do wonders). 2: Robert Sapolsky’s book ‘Behave’, which explains the scientific factors that cause and influence behavior.

  2. So when an autistic is having a meltdown, that’s his/her fight response and when he/she is having a shutdown, that’s the flight response?

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