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Damage to the Hypothalamus

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“The hypothalamus is a small area near the base of the
brain just ventral to the thalamus” (Kalat 90). It makes up
about 1/300 total brain weight in humans, and it is about the
size of an almond ( Since the hypothalamus
is attached to the pituitary gland, which is considered the
“master gland,” the hypothalamus is the structure which actually
has master control over promoting or inhibiting hormone release,
affecting many glands (Kalat 327). The main function of the
hypothalamus is to regulate homeostasis, but its wide range of
control affects the generation of behaviors involved in eating,
drinking, temperature regulation, sexual behavior, copulation,
maternal behavior, general arousal, activity level, the sleep-
wake cycle, and emotional regulation of rage, aggression,
embarrassment, escape from danger in “fight or flight”
responses, and pleasure ( When the
hypothalamus is damaged, specific behavior changes occur
dependent on the lesion location on the hypothalamus. The
affects of such behavior changes can affect a person’s life to
such a degree that a social worker is needed for emotional,
informational, familial, economic, and environmental support

The hypothalamus controls the pituitary, which consists of
two major glands: anterior pituitary and the posterior pituitary
(which can be considered an extension of the hypothalamus). The
hypothalamus synthesizes the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin,
which are transported to their terminals in the posterior
pituitary, and then released in the blood (Kalat 327). Oxytocin
controls uterine contractions, milk release, certain aspects of
parental behavior, and...

... middle of paper ... Cancer Institute: Social
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Kalat, J.W. (2004). Biological Psychology. Canada:
Wadsworth, Thomson Learning Inc.

Taking Time: Support For People With Cancer and the People
Who Care About Them (2001). U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. National Institutes of Health: National
Cancer Institute.

Taylor, S.E., Falke, R.L., Shoptaw, S.J., Steven, J., &
Lichtman, R.R. (1986). Social support, support groups, and
the cancer patient. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 54(5), 608-615.

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