Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you feel tired all the time? Are you having difficulty remembering simple words or experiencing brain fog? Do you wake up every night between 1 am and 3 am only to find you cannot go back to sleep? Are you having frequent anxiety? Are you having cravings for salty or sweet carbs? Have you put on excess weight in your belly? How to stop feeling tired? Read on here!
Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
The above symptoms indicate you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. In today’s fast-paced world, this silent hormonal dysfunction is becoming more and more prevalent. Always being busy, plugged in, and continuous activity has increased the risk of becoming burned out and experiencing serious health complications. With this adrenal dysfunction, you know something just isn’t right; however, you are unable to pinpoint the cause. Many people think adrenal fatigue is only experienced in adults; however, more and more children are experiencing this disorder. Kids are experiencing high levels of stress due to an increase in activities, school work, peer pressure, and even video games that provide an adrenaline rush.
Often times, this medical condition is misdiagnosed. If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, your doctor may misdiagnose you with depression or another mood disorder. You visit your doctor’s office, have multiple laboratory tests run, only to find out your levels are all within an “acceptable” range.
In your heart of hearts, you know something just isn’t right. You cannot think straight, you have difficulty remembering common words, and you cannot get a good night’s sleep. Additionally, you continually feel exhausted and no matter how much you exercise or how closely you watch your calorie consumption, you continue to gain weight. Most doctors will assume you are depressed and offer you an antidepressant.
If this scenario sounds like what you have experienced in the past, it is time to reach out to a functional medicine doctor who will look into the root cause of your symptoms.
Understanding Adrenal Fatigue?
So what exactly is adrenal fatigue and what causes it? Our body has an innate survival response. When this response is triggered, the body sends signals to the adrenal glands to increase the production of adrenaline. This increased release of adrenal allows you to either run away from danger or stand and fight.
If you have ever walked alone through a deserted parking garage after dark and heard footsteps behind you, you know what it means to be on high alert. You may feel panic. You will be ready to spring into action, and you will be hypervigilant. When this occurs, your body increases the production of several stress hormones, including cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and adrenaline.
Although our bodies have the innate ability to activate the stress response, they cannot differentiate between an actual dangerous situation like being chased, a surprise bill, medical issues, or something else going on. All the body knows is that something is wrong, so it begins creating more and more stress hormones.
Our bodies are not built for the continuous stress that we are under today. Years ago, humans spent time hunting and gathering food. The family unit worked together to provide for one another. Roles in the family were defined and workloads were consistent. Today, the world demands continuous multitasking, juggling home and work life, continually being online and available, endless activities, and checking social media and email nonstop. Because of all of this activity, your body and mind remain in overdrive. The body tries to adapt; however, over time, it can no longer produce the hormones that it needs to function properly. Adrenal fatigue affects both adults and children. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, doctors often prescribe addictive medications that can cause dangerous side effects.
Tips to Reduce Stress
The first step toward healing is to get an accurate diagnosis. Your functional medicine doctor will evaluate your cortisol levels along with your health history, diet and lifestyle choices. Once it is determined that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, you will need to reduce your stress levels. Here are some tips for reducing your stress and improving your adrenal health.
- Identify Stress When It First Starts – It is critical to learn how to spot stress and anxiety when it first begins. Some of the common symptoms include an increased heart rate and accelerated respiration. Your mouth may become dry, you may begin to sweat, and you may feel like you may pass out. Many individuals experience memory or concentration issues. Others may become nauseous, feel pain in their chest, have a sense of impending doom, or have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Know how to Respond to Stress – There are several things you can do at the onset of anxiety or stress. Deep breathing exercises, guided meditation, or tapping have been shown to be an effective way to stop stress in its tracks. As soon as you begin to feel the symptoms of anxiety, stop what you are doing and perform some of these stress relief techniques.
- Promote Good Health – The best way to heal the body is to ensure it is receiving what it needs. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet filled with fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins helps provide the adrenal glands with the nutrients it needs. A detoxification program helps remove toxins and free radicals from the body so the body can function better. Finally, daily exercise of at least 30 minutes per day helps to combat the effects of stress on the body.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Experts recommend adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, while children should get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep each night. This can be difficult for someone who is suffering from adrenal fatigue; however, there are a few practices that can help you get to sleep and stay asleep. First, go to bed and get up at the same time each day. This one thing has been shown to regulate circadian rhythms. Next, lower the temperature of your bedroom by a few degrees. If necessary, you may also need to use room darkening blinds and white noise machines to help create a relaxing environment. Finally, turn off all electronics (including the television, computer, and cellphone) at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Holistic Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demands of the body. When this occurs, you can begin to experience many unpleasant health issues. If not dealt with, adrenal fatigue can result in long-term health issues. The good news is you can reverse the effects of adrenal fatigue. Your functional medicine doctor will evaluate your cortisol levels along with your health history, diet and lifestyle choices. Once diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, a personalized treatment plan will be prepared to help you overcome any hormonal imbalances along with lifestyle changes to help you regain your health and vitality.