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Running Out of Steam?

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Running Out of Steam?

Give your adrenals a day off!
Marcelle  Pick
Marcelle Pick More by this author
Mar 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Do you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed all the time?

Do you need five cups of coffee or a constant infusion of soda just to make it through the day?

Are you always hungry, frequently craving sweets, or tempted by “carbo-binges”?

Do you find yourself feeling forgetful, “foggy,” or unable to concentrate?

Are you struggling with anxiety, depression, or despair?

Sound familiar? If I’ve painted a picture you recognize—in yourself, in your family, among your friends and colleagues—you’ve just gotten a good look at adrenal dysfunction, a distressingly common problem in which overworked adrenal glands combined with lifelong emotional patterns add up to a painful set of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

In the early stages of adrenal dysfunction, you might feel “tired and wired”: keyed up, anxious, fatigued, and depressed. In the later stages, you might simply feel exhausted.

Either way, you know something’s wrong—even if your health-care provider has assured you that you’re fine or hasn’t included adrenal dysfunction in his or her diagnosis.

You may not think much about your adrenals, but they are crucial to your health, mood, and well-being.

These little triangular-shaped glands sit on top of the kidneys, responsible for giving us those extra surges of vitality that we need to cope with unusual challenges, new demands, and heightened levels of stress. That vitality is commonly known as the fight-or-flight reaction. When a major challenge threatens, our adrenal glands kick up the stress hormones, enabling us to cope with whatever challenge or emergency befalls. Then, when the crisis is over, the stress hormones subside and we relax once more.

But our adrenals don’t just operate during emergencies; they’re on duty all day long. Under ordinary circumstances, our adrenals are designed to give us relatively small blasts of strength, from the little burst of energy that wakes us up in the morning to the stimulating hormones that keep us awake, alert, and focused throughout the day. Ideally, as evening comes, our adrenal production is supposed to steadily decline, allowing us to relax into a restful sleep.

That’s how our adrenals were meant to work. But when we’re chronically under stress, our adrenals are forced to behave very differently. Instead of just enough stress hormones to keep us alert and awake, with occasional extras for a fight-or-flight emergency, our adrenals are being asked to provide stress hormones for a continual barrage of challenges as they help us cope with the latest crisis from the kids or meeting that new deadline at work—and then drag ourselves out of bed a few hours later to start all over again.

Our stress may come from life events: challenges at home or at work. Or perhaps our stress comes from environmental toxins that place an undue burden on our bodies; or from noisy, unpleasant surroundings; or from chronic infection, asthma, allergies, or pain.

We may be acting out the effects of historical stress: reactions to present-day events that are made more difficult or intense because of our past experiences, especially those involving our parents. Maybe we’re facing a difficult combination of life events, health problems, and environmental stressors. However it happens, too many of us are living in a condition of near-constant stress, with no true down time for our bodies, minds, and spirits. Adrenal dysfunction is the result.

Unfortunately, your health-care practitioner is likely to ignore or dismiss adrenals as the source of your problem unless you are suffering from either Addison’s disease, in which your adrenals severely underproduce, or Cushing’s syndrome, in which they severely overproduce. These two conditions are well understood by conventional medicine—thank heavens!

But if your adrenal imbalance is less extreme—as is true for hundreds of thousands of U.S. women—your practitioner is unlikely to recognize your condition. That’s because, despite the enormous body of science relating adrenal problems to a wide variety of symptoms, adrenal dysfunction is not a commonly accepted diagnosis.

The good news is that once you have identified adrenal dysfunction as your condition, you can address all your symptoms and heal the underlying problem that is causing them. You can change your diet, adjust your lifestyle, and reprogram the emotional patterns that are stressing you out—and you can do it in 30 days. Within a month, you’ll see a significant difference. Within two months, you’ll find that many of your symptoms have disappeared. And within three months or more, you’ll have made a great beginning toward restoring your adrenal balance, restarting your metabolism, and regaining your natural energy.

About Author
Marcelle  Pick
Marcelle co-founded Women to Women in 1983 with a vision to change the way in which women’s healthcare is delivered.In her practice, Marcelle undertakes a holistic approach that not only treats illness, but also helps women make choices in th Continue reading