The fight or flight response is controlled by the amygdala, which is located in both hemispheres of the brain, within the temporal lobes. When you sense a threat or are fearful, this sets off the amygdala, which then sets off the sympathetic nervous system and the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). The following diagram illustrates how the amygdala controls the fight or flight response:
About Dr. Carlo
Dr. Carlo Carandang is a psychiatrist, anxiety and depression expert, and founder of AnxietyBoss.com. He has seen patients with anxiety and depression for over 15 years. Dr. Carlo has been a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association since 2010, was Board Certified in Psychiatry in 2002, and has been licensed as a physician in Washington State since 1998. He is also a data scientist focused on machine learning and AI, especially for healthcare applications.