Tired, Stressed, Gaining Weight Around the Middle, Can’t Sleep?
Signs and Symptoms
Some key signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include allergies, dark circles under the eyes, salt cravings, increased blood sugar under stress, increased PMS, perimenopausal, or menopausal symptoms under stress, mild depression, lack of energy, decreased ability to handle stress, muscle weakness, absent mindedness, decreased sex drive, mild constipation alternating with diarrhea, as well as many others. Does this sound like you?
Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which the adrenal glands function at a sub-optimal level when patients are at rest, under stress, or in response to consistent, intermittent, or sporadic demands. The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit over the kidneys and are responsible for secreting over 50 different hormones—including epinephrine, cortisol, progesterone, DHEA, estrogen, and testosterone.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
The onset of adrenal fatigue often occurs because of financial pressures, infections, emotional stress, smoking, drugs, poor eating habits, sugar and white flour products, unemployment and several other stressors. After experiencing many of these events over a long period of time, the adrenal glands tend to produce less cortisol, the body’s master stress hormone. Cortisol’s main role in the body is to enable us to handle stress and maintain our immune systems. The adrenal gland’s struggle to meet the high demands of cortisol production eventually leads to adrenal fatigue.
Patients with adrenal fatigue have a distinct energy pattern. They are usually very fatigued in the morning, not really waking up until 10 AM, and will not usually feel fully awake until after a noon meal. They experience a lull in their cortisol (the stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland) and as a result, they feel low during the afternoon, generally around 2-4 PM. Patients generally begin to feel better after 6 PM; however, they are usually tired after 9 and in bed by 11 PM These patients find that they work best late at night.
Stages of Adrenal Fatigue
There are four stages to complete adrenal exhaustion, with the symptoms becoming more severe with each stage. While the first two stages have been studied for many years, the clinical understanding of stage three (adrenal exhaustion) is still in its preliminary phase. Stage four is the last one, with a possibility of cardiac failure and collapse.
First Stage: The Alarm Reaction
This is the stage where the body, in response to stress, goes into overdrive in anti-stress mode, also known as the "fight or flight" response. The anti-stress hormones, including cortisol, are secreted. At this stage, no dysfunction either physical or physiological is noticeable. Though the adrenal glands are working overtime, this state is rarely seen as a pathological condition. Intake of stimulants and sugary drinks together with carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweets appear to mask the underlying problem.
Second Stage: Resistance Response
At this stage, the stress levels are constant and there are sustained levels of certain adrenal hormones. The adrenal cortex (the outer section) produces corticosteroids for this resistance response. Normal activity is carried on, but the sense of fatigue at the end of the day is acute and recovery takes longer. Weight gain and insomnia are also common symptoms. The thyroid gland is usually affected at this stage.
Hormonal treatment and other remedies are generally prescribed, as this is the stage when the patient decides to go to the doctor. But for obvious reasons, these fail to address the underlying cause and the indications grow worse as the affliction moves to the third stage.
Stage Three: Exhaustion
Now the body's ability to cope with stress has depleted. At this stage, the adrenal glands are unable to produce cortisol in response to stress and the body suffers from exhaustion. Blood sugar levels plummet, and this leads to further intolerance to stress as well as increasing mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, and ultimately collapse.
Stage Four: Failure
This is the final stage, and at this point there is a total failure of the adrenal glands in response to stress. When in a stressful situation, people are now susceptible to cardiovascular collapse and even death.
The period of recovery could take anywhere from three months to three years, as each person has unique symptoms and an individual response to treatment.
Alternative Offerings for Adrenal Fatigue at Trinity Holistic Wellness
Herbal Naturopathic supplements including ginseng, ashwagandha, magnesium, licorice and ginger root can help restore energy and support the adrenal glands. Also, offering the body targeted homeopathic support and proper nutritionals is often necessary to realize optimal adrenal health and longevity. By utilizing Electral Dermal Screening we can accurately determine what remedies are best for you.
The LIVE Method (Love Is Victorious Everywhere)
Holistic emotional healing treatments such as The LIVE Method can help to promote healing and help the sufferer let go of negative feelings (conscience and sub conscience) that may be affecting his or her nervous system.
Extra sleep and long periods of resting are necessary to calm down the body and reduce tension; deep relaxation techniques can also help reduce stress and tension in the body and promote healing.
Eating an Organic, Fresh Food Diet
The adrenal glands can become overworked from processing too much sugar, caffeine and white flour in the diet; three small meals and three snacks composed of fresh, organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains can restore the body to optimal functioning. We educate our patients on proper dietary choices designed to optimize adrenal functioning and repair.
The adrenal glands are essential for our day-to-day ability to handle stress. They adapt to our environment and our sensory awareness, maintaining a constant state of readiness for any stress that our brain identifies. Stress is something that can vary from person to person, including what may trigger a stressful response. Once you decide that something is stressful, the adrenal glands will release a cascade of chemicals into the blood which will alter the function of every cell in your body. This "fight or flight" response is intended for short-term change, but in our present world, may become a long-term adaptation, changing the very nature of who you are.