No I am not talking about base jumpers, bungee jumpers, and all those other crazy sports that people do. I am talking about adrenaline addicted people around us, at work, in the coffee shop, maybe sleeping next to you. I am talking about people with over active adrenal glands. You won’t see the usual addict signs (think Amy Winehouse) but here are some signs and symptoms of adrenaline junkies:
- Poor or light sleepers
- Busy all day, every day
- Excess sweating (especially in bed)
- Need caffeine fixes such as coffee, energy drinks, coke to function properly
- Tend to get run down easily
- If they do slow down, they feel exhausted and find it hard to gain momentum again
- Have an unhealthy, often pale complexion
Are you an Adrenaline junkie?
If you can relate to the above symptoms then read on. Adrenaline is a hormone that secretes out of your Adrenaline glands located on top of your kidneys. Their job is to prepare your body for action by speeding up certain bodily functions. You may have heard of the fight or flight response. That’s what these little but powerful glands do. When they kick into action, the following responses occur:
- Your heart rate increases
- Your blood pressure rises
- Your breathing increases and becomes more shallow
- Your sweat glands produce more sweat
- Your senses become more alert and you are ready for action
Fight or Flight in the modern world
Flight or flight response was well and good back in the cave man days when Pappa cave man stepped out to find a giant woolly mammoth staring him down. Straight away his adrenaline glands would pump his body up ready to fight or flight the beast. In today’s world however, our stresses last longer. A stressful job, hectic schedule, deadlines, etc all cause our adrenaline glands to get pumping, but this time it lasts days, weeks or months instead of minutes.
Without the physical reaction of fighting or running from a stressful situation, the adrenal glands don’t know when to slow down. Therefore over weeks, and months, these poor little blighters get exhausted which leads to all sorts of nasty problems, such as chronic fatigue, depression, glandular fever and pneumonia.
The problem with chronic adrenaline secretion
Like any addiction, the more you use something, the more of it you need to get your fix. This is where coffee and energy drinks come in. The caffeine in these drinks artificially stimulates your already exhausted adrenal glands. Think of it like flogging a dead horse! The more coffee you drink, the more of it you will need to get the same effect. It’s a vicious cycle wearing you down.
How do I stop my adrenal glands from being overactive?
- First and foremost, exercise. By moving, you are doing what adrenaline intended you to do, taking action. A decent workout is the same as fighting or flighting. Your body thinks you’ve overcome the woolly mammoth and during your cool down (yes cool down is a crucial part of any workout) your adrenal glands slow right down so your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals return to normal. 5 really slow deep breaths will also help.
- Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Messing with your body clock plays havoc on your adrenal glands. Before you go to bed, you must unwind mentally. Read a book, meditate, listen to slow calming music. Quiet your mind. If your mind is racing, it triggers the adrenal glands even while you sleep. This is probably doing the most damage to your health.
- Lay off the caffeine and energy drinks. If you need these to function, then something isn’t right. One coffee a day isn’t going to kill you, but if you are going to kill someone without your morning fix, you need help! I suggest one month off all caffeine/energy drinks to allow your hormones to return to normal. Combined with points 1 and 2, you should be feeling much better within that month (might be rough at the start, hang in there).
If you need more help kicking the ‘adrenaline’ habit
Acupuncture is amazing for adrenaline issues. It realigns the bodies’ energy systems, helping to balance all hormones. Some people feel more tired, before they fully recover, but it’s important to let the body rest once the adrenaline mask has been removed. Regular massages are also helpful, especially at night, when you can go straight to bed afterwards.