Adrenal Burnout is a definite sign that stress is winning the battle. It is a sure sign your amygdalae are over-reacting to just about everything in your life or, perhaps, just to a particular situation that has been going on for far too long. To say you are overwhelmed may be a drastic understatement at this point.
Symptoms of Adrenal Burnout
Are you just sick and tired of being 'sick and tired' or could it be something more serious?
Symptoms of Adrenal Burnout, also referred to as Adrenal Exhaustion, include the following symptoms.
In extreme cases, Adrenal Burnout Syndrome can lead to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Heart Disease, Cancer. Cushing's or Addison's Disease. However, if you catch Adrenal Burnout in time, it can be reversed.
Adrenal Function 101
The adrenal glands sit atop of your kidneys and are about the size of a walnut. These two glands are the manufacturing and control centers for a variety of hormones, such as DHEA and Cortisol. Adrenaline is pumped out every time you feel threatened emotionally or physically, consciously or subconsciously. This threat can be, either, real or perceived.
The adrenals are not designed for the persistent, episodic or chronic physical or emotional stress. When the adrenals are taxed they eventually stop producing optimal levels of certain hormones and you'll begin to age faster.
Cortisol is one of the hormones the adrenal glands pump out whenever you feel threatened or stresed. Cortisol’s purpose is to offset the effects of mental and physical stress. The adrenals produce cortisol in a healthy manner, until long-term stress or trauma causes cortisol levels to remain elevated. Eventually, cortisol levels will decrease from prolonged stimulation to a level that is way too low. This is adrenal burnout or exhaustion.
Possible Causes of Adrenal Burnout Syndrome
Poor sleep is the number one cause of Adrenal Burnout, but anyone can suffer from Adrenal Burnout Syndrome, but Highly Sensitive People may tend to be more inclined toward burnout, due to having a highly sensitive nervous system from birth.
Your lifestyle, including your diet, exercise and sleep (or lack of) and your relationships, and lack of a positive support network play a huge role in Adrenal Burnout Syndrome.
Pressures on the job, feeling a lack of purpose in life or a disconnection to a higher power all create stress, which triggers an adrenal response.
Modern day technology has affected diet and lifestyle to the point where your body is continually affronted by toxic chemicals, pollution, EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies), loud noise, bright lights, frequent motion and food additives. These things cause the mind, body and spirit real stress, even though we may think we have learned to live with them and even ignore them.
The Ancient Brain & Adrenal Burnout Syndrome
The amygdalae are two, small organs in the brain the ancient parts of the brain that I, whimsically, refer to as your inner fish.
Your inner fish are responsible for storing every memory of every fear you have ever had and ever will have and processing emotions and pick up on thoughts and feelings you may not even be aware of.
Whenever you perceive a threat (real or imagined) the amygdalae respond by sending messages to your sympathetic nervous system to release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to prepare you for the fight or flight response. This response is triggered more frequently in Highly Sensitive People and can lead to burnout.
Natural Old World Remedies for Adrenal Burnout
Personally & Spiritually
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Specific - You have specifically defined what you want to accomplish.
Measurable - You have identified measurable milestones to track your progress.
Attainable - Your goal is realistic, manageable and attainable.
Realistic - You have identified a goal that fits within your abilities.
Time-Based - You have allocated a specific period of time for achieving your goal.
When you get to the point where you are suffering from Adrenal Burnout Syndrome it can feel as if LIFE is what stresses you out, but I guarantee it isn't your entire LIFE. It is likely a combination of certain things already in your life, as well as certain things that are lacking in your life that are causing stress. Take a personal, physical, and environmental inventory. Make a list of all of the things, people or places that stress you out, especially on a regular basis. Create a SMART plan for moving away from whatever causes you the most stress in life. then, make another list of all you feel that is lacking in your life and create a S.M.A.R.T. plan for moving toward those things.
Eliminate Abusive or Self-Sabotaging Behaviors
Abuse, in all of its forms, contributes to Adrenal Burnout. It is a serious condition and potentially dangerous. It is important that you work on lifestyle changes involving behaviors, thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. This includes eliminating addictions. Whatever you are addicted to, whether it is alcohol, narcotics, nicotine, caffeine, gambling, shopping, pornography, being on the computer at all hours or sex (or whatever else gets your adrenal glands pumping) needs to be dealt with and greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
Deal With Emotional Baggage
One of the number one reasons for adrenal burnout is stress from unresolved emotional issues or bad habits that create feelings of rage, anger, bitterness, resentment, hatred, guilt, shame, or fear. Dealing with emotional baggage is a must in order to get beyond adrenal dysfunction. Negative emotions can leave you irritable and feeling as though you barely have enough energy to get through the day. In fact, when you are suffering from adrenal burnout, you can't get through the day normally. It is physically impossible. Acknowledge your emotions and put names to them. Write, journal, and communicate (see someone, a counselor, priest or friend). Do what you must. Burnout is serious. It is a major breakdown of the energy system of the body.
Be Around People Who Make You Feel Good About You
Are you in a tough relationship or suffering from low self-esteem? Nothing is worse for the draining of your energy than negative relationships and poor self-image or esteem. They usually go hand in hand, buddies 'til the end.
Make a decision that you deserve to be in a good relationship with yourself and others. If you have no positive people in your life at present make it a point to join a group or class, volunteer where you can be appreciated, or visit places that people are usually feeling positive and friendly. Develop your own positive support network even if at first you are not directly involved one on one with others. Walk among other people at the museum, the mall, the library or bookstore, the beach or park or a classic car show.
Get Quietly Creative
As sad as it is to say, even children can suffer from Adrenal Burnout. Children easily deal with emotion through journaling, drawing, coloring or painting. If you are artistic at all, you might consider a journal of drawings rather than writing. Letting your inner child express her or his feelings in this way may be easier than finding words for you as well.
Take time to relax, meditate, pray or do nothing but sit quietly.
Physically & Environmentally
Even if you have no medical insurance you can have your cortisol and other hormones tested through Dr. Lee's website, which offers testing for, both, men and women.
Check for toxinsin your home such as mold, new furniture made from pressed wood or plastics, cleaning or hygiene products. Resolve to begin using more natural approach to the products you use.
Reduce Electro-Magnetic Frequencies (EMFs). Are you receiving too high a level of EMFs from microwaves, cell phones, computers, or electrical outlets in your home? Are there many overhead wires, cell phone towers, transformers, or other high voltage areas in your neighborhood? The human body has its own electromagnetic energy field. This field, the aura, is greatly affected by EMFs. Your body transmits about 3 volts of electricity. This is about half the energy of a night light. Cell phones and electrical appliances interfere with your own electrical system. In fact, high levels of electromagnetic frequencies cause adrenal burnout. Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use. Remove or even eliminate small electrical devices from your home or office. If you live in a high voltage area seriously consider moving, especially if you only rent your dwelling.
Improve your sleep. If getting a good night of sleep can make you feel somewhat refreshed and give you back your perspective it is doubtful you have Adrenal Burnout. The body repairs itself at night during deep sleep. This doesn't happen regularly enough for the person suffering from Adrenal Burnout. In fact, Adrenal Burnout can cause some sleep disorders due to hormonal imbalances and some sleep disorders can cause Adrenal Burnout due to lack of oxygen while sleeping. If you wake up with a little or no energy after a full 8-9 hours of sleep and within an hour or two feel the way you did before you ever went to bed you may be dealing with a Sleep Disorder.
Don't keep late hours. Highly Sensitive People tend to be night owls even when having day jobs. I know from experience how easy it is to relax without the stress that daytime brings. No bright lights, no kids interrupting, no noisy traffic, no TVs, radios or phones distracting you. Night time can be blissful when you are over-stimulated and over-aroused during the day. It may be the only time you feel normal, but your adrenal glands are taxed by keeping late hours. Hormones need to be balanced and your body needs to rebuild at night. The key words here are 'at night'. Meaning, in the dark and quiet, while you are sleeping, after no later than 11 PM.
Exercise to relax. Just taking a stroll can help you to relax, which is the purpose for exercising when you are suffering from Adrenal Burnout. If you can walk, do so. You can use a step platform inside, but if you can walk outside that's even better. Exercise boosts your immune system and keeps your muscles toned, which helps you to better deal with stress. See Exercise for suggestion on how to get active even if you are unfit or physically challenged.
Breathe slowlyand deeply to the count of 2. (Inhale 2 counts. Exhale 2 counts.) Feel your stomach push in and out. If your chest is going up and down vertically, you are doing it wrong. Your stomach should be moving in and out horizontally. Place your hand lightly on your stomach. Try again. Do this as often as you think of it. Work up to counting to 4, instead of 2, with each inhale and exhale. It is easy to breathe shallowly when we are tense. Tense sore muscles, especially upper back, shoulders and neck, are signs you are holding your breath more than breathing, due to stress.
Pay attention to your diet. Reduce your consumption of refined carbohydrates, while increasing fresh, whole foods to your diet. Eat fish at least 3 times each week for the health benefits of fish oils.
Cut back on caffeine to only 2-3 cups per day of caffeinated beverages or eliminate them entirely. Green tea in, both, capsule and tea forms boosts the production of immune fighting cells. Sencha contains less caffeine than other green teas and can be made by infusing 1 Teaspoon of dried tea leaves in one cup of near boiling water. Let it sit for 2-5 minutes, strain, and drink hot with honey or Stevia to taste.
Catnip tea is a tonic to the nervous system and is a bit of a relaxant. It is my number one suggested tea for Highly Sensitive People and anyone suffering from adrenal issues. You can prepare it the same way as Sencha. However, do not use Catnip if you are pregnant, nursing or are on diuretic medication.
Cut down on alcohol to only one alcoholic beverage per day.
Stay hydrated. Aim for 4-8 glasses of pure water each day.
Ashwagandha is an herb that stimulates the immune system. This is an amazing herb, but it may affect some medications and there can be side effects for sensitive people. Definitely check with your doctor before using. Astragalus is a much better choice, as it has far less, if any, side effects.
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root can also help to repair a taxed adrenal system. Licorice root can be taken as a tea or in capsule form. Do not use Licorice Root that has not been deglycyrrhizinated if you have blood pressure or heart problems.
Adrenal Burnout Associations
Spiritual/Psychological causes of Adrenal Burnout Syndrome: Thought imbalance. Self-defeating or crushing messages that you believe. Feeling overpowered. You've been treading deep water for too long and are exhausted. Not loving yourself enough.
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