Adrenal Fatigue and Mental Health – The Missing Link

adrenal-fatigue

Is your anxiety and/or depression making you feel tired all the time?

Is the idea of feeling energetic a distant memory for you?

Are you still tired after a full night’s rest?

I personally believe if you struggle from a mood disorder AND fatigue, adrenal fatigue is the missing link which connects these issues and amplifies each one individually.

Disclaimer:  This is not medical advice, I speak from years of personal experience.

The Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are the connection between the mind and the body.  They are responsible for producing hormones like DHEA and androstenodione.

These hormones follow a downstream pattern, and eventually get converted into more well-known hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen.

Our adrenal glands are also responsible for producing corticosteroids like cortisol.

Cortisol is essential for our well being, stress response, daily energy, and sleep cycles.

Not only do the adrenal glands produce these hormones, but they also determine how our body reacts to stress.

There are three neurotransmitters involved in the stress response:

  1. Adrenaline
  2. Norepinephrine
  3. Dopamine

When our body is under stress our brain will send a signal to the adrenal glands telling them to release these neurotransmitters, and cortisol in order to start a biological response.

This results in feelings of anxiety, increased alertness, and a temporary boost in energy.

As the stress diminishes, these levels will return to baseline.

If a person is under chronic stress the adrenals constantly stay in this alert phase releasing these neurotransmitters alongside cortisol.

Eventually the adrenal glands will become overworked and stop responding efficiently or effectively.

 

Adrenal Fatigue

From my own experience, I can certainly tell you that having adrenal fatigue literally drains the life out of you.

It is a classic example of a nasty cycle…

You are constantly feeling stressed out and tired because your adrenals are not putting out an adequate amount of cortisol to respond to stress appropriately.

But at the same time, the constant stress is making your adrenal function worse!

Eventually, norepinephrine and dopamine levels can become depleted due to excessive release which may leave you feeling unmotivated and depressed, or worsen it if you’re already feeling either of those emotions.

 

How can we fix it?

 

#1.   Eliminate stress as much as physically possible.

It is the chronic stress that is causing the overstimulation of your adrenal glands.

Picture stress as a hole in a cup.  You keep pouring liquid into the cup to try to fill it, but the hole always lets more out so the cup never fills.

In this case the “stress hole” is leaking your energy and making all of your other efforts useless and leaving you feeling drained.

 

#2.  Eliminate caffeine sources like energy drinks and coffee.

Caffeine causes your adrenal glands to excrete cortisol and adrenaline at the time of consumption, even when you are not stressed.

Excess cortisol and adrenaline will further increase stress which we just talked about.

The last thing we want is to further imbalance the release of these adrenal hormones.

Instead, consider replacing caffeine with herbs which naturally improve energy, while simultaneously nourishing your adrenal glands.

 

#3.  Exercise regularly and lightly.

A happy medium is key here.  Take walks in nature, do light machine work at the gym, go swimming, etc.

For the person reading this who exercises 7 hours a week, you need to lessen the load.

I personally find 2 hours of weights split between 3 days, and walking half an hour everyday to be my happy medium.

You don’t have to beat yourself into exhaustion every time you work out. The important part is to get your body moving, even if it is something small.

 

#4. Perform breathing exercises daily

Guided meditations, or any breathing exercise that grounds you can have dramatic effects on reducing stress levels.

In turn, this will aid all of your other efforts.

Yoga is also a great option for learning breathing control.

 

#5. Eliminate or reduce alcohol

There isn’t much that alcohol is good for in the body, and the adrenal glands are no exception.

If you drink, often you are putting unnecessary stress on your adrenals, and simultaneously robbing your brain of the feel good neurotransmitters.

Alcohol may be good in the moment, but can have extremely negative long-term effects.

I personally notice a big spike in anxiety the next day after drinking, and it will take me multiple days for me to recover my energy.

 

For a much more in depth look, and many more tips,  I recommend reading The Adrenal Fatigue Solution

 

My History with Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue made me lose 3 years of my life.

I can’t pinpoint what caused it, but I imagine chemotherapy and living with anxiety greatly increased it.

During my battle with adrenal fatigue, I had no idea what my problem was.  Uneducated, I was chasing my tail in circles like a dog.

I just wanted it to stop.  I wanted to have energy.

In desperation, I would try every supplement I could find claiming to help with chronic fatigue.

Sometimes I would take a supplement and feel okay for 3 or 4 days, only to crash even harder than before.

I also got in to a vicious cycle of drinking coffee which did not do my adrenals any benefits.  At the time I felt like I needed coffee to even be able to brush my teeth.

My energy levels were that low.

Friendships started to fade because I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed unless it was an absolute necessity.

Some days I was so tired that I feared if I continued to feel like this I would be dead by 40.   Like my body would literally just turn off.

If I didn’t have depression before I sure did during this period.

It also increased my anxiety dramatically.  I spent everyday for almost 3 years straight worrying about my health.

At times I was in tears,  just dreaming of what it would be like to be healthy.

 

Recovery

It wasn’t until I found a program called the adrenal fatigue solution that things made sense to me.

The program is a roughly 200 page ebook that contains absolutely everything there is to know about adrenal fatigue.

From hormones, blood tests, diet tips and much more, this book covers it.

This program truly changed my life.

I still need to take care of my health everyday, but this last year is the healthiest that I have felt in a long time.

My mood and depression are also considerably better, which is a dream come true.  I have a firm belief that a lot of anxiety and depression can be related to adrenal fatigue and people just aren’t aware of it.

This would explain why some people spend so much time looking for the perfect anti-depressant and still never get better.

You don’t need to wait till your condition gets as bad as mine did.  You need to address your adrenal fatigue as soon as possible if anything in this article relates to you.

 

If this article helped please leave a comment and let me know!

2 Comments

  1. I know I should give up coffee but it’s so hard. It’s been a part of my life for so long. I quite smoking ten years ago and I can tell you giving up coffee is WAY harder thank nicotine. I think to its everything that goes with coffee. The socialness, the habit, the taste, the sugar the cream. I know for a fact I feel way better when I don’t drink so much of it but it seems impossible to stop. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hey Caprice, I know how you feel. I have only been drinking coffee for a few years myself and I still struggle. Besides the generic “drink decaf” advice I recommend forcing yourself to go the first two hours of your day without coffee. Often times our body just takes a little bit of time to get going in the morning which is when we immediately reach for coffee. Instead replace your morning coffee with a liter of water. You may find eventually, around the 2 hour mark you don’t even want the coffee anymore.

      Hope this helped!

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