This week we're going to talk about adrenal fatigue. What is adrenal fatigue and what are some of the symptoms? Is it even a real thing?
Why do I know anything about Adrenal Fatigue?
Just to give you a little bit of background information, I have studied under the leading expert for stress and adrenal fatigue, Dr. James L. Wilson, for almost the past six years. Through his education, training, mentorship, and his knowledge, I have been able to help so many women (including teaching other practitioners to the same for their patients) beat burnout, by addressing these symptoms of stress and helping them overcome the obstacles that are preventing them from leading the best life that they possibly can.
Going through my own journey of recovery from Adrenal Fatigue has helped me help others. It also drove me to continue my education; I became a certified wellness coach to focus on guiding my clients through a change model to get to the root cause of stress and Adrenal Fatigue.
I also became a certified nutritionist to help my clients promote healing through nutrition.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue was coined as the Twenty-first-century Syndrome by Dr. James L. Wilson. It's considered the twenty-first-century stress syndrome simply because of the lifestyle we lead as a society; our constant need to be more efficient, to always be doing more, to always be busy, and to be accomplishing all the time is causing chronic stress. There's very little room for rest.
Adrenal Fatigue is considered to be a collection of signs and symptoms which are often stress related and there have been many studies on the impact of stress to your health. Specifically, there have been some recent studies by the American Psychological Association and the Journal of the American Medical Association, where they have shown that approximately 60 to 90 percent of all office visits to a primary care physician are to address symptoms of stress. That is such a staggering number!
That means that we are so stressed out that we're causing all of these symptoms and a majority of what doctors are seeing in their offices every single day often has to do with stress, and that's just staggering to me because it's completely preventable, for the most part.
What are some of the stress-related symptoms? What are symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is really a way of giving a name to something that's happening within your body. Your body is basically under a chronic stress response (fight or flight) and it becomes unable to deal with the demand to respond to heightened stress after a prolonged amount of time.
The busier we are, the frenzied state and emotional distress becomes a playground for inflammation as elevated cortisol tries to bring our body back to a parasympathetic state (rest and digest). Leading to many of these symptoms because of chronic stress, we become a society that is facing the epidemic of burnout.
One of the top signs and probably the most complained about symptom is chronic fatigue. This is a fatigue that is not relieved by sleep. So even though you may get eight to 10 hours of sleep at night, you still feel exhausted throughout the day. You have a really hard time waking up in the morning and, in fact, if this is really true for you, you are often hitting that snooze button or sleeping through the alarm, and then finding yourself panicked and rushed in the morning because you've slept completely through your alarm. Worst part- you're not waking up feeling rested and rejuvenated!
Zero Energy/Energy Crashes
Another symptom is zero energy. You feel completely rundown and totally lethargic and that lack of energy continues throughout your day so much, leaving you completely dependent on caffeine and sugar to keep you going throughout the day. This leads to a temporary burst of false energy that is followed by a severe sugar crash.
And the cycle continues. Coffee. Candy. Crash. Repeat. Welcome blood sugar imbalance.
Brain fog is a terrible thing because it makes you feel like you're almost losing your mind. You can't concentrate on anything, your memory is terrible, and you're just not thinking clearly. In fact, you may even be making some poor decisions because of the fact that you are having chronic stress symptoms.
And it's leading to a decreased cognitive function when stress increases, your brain is working a lot harder and not as efficiently as it could be. You may have trouble sleeping because of the stress and imbalanced cortisol. And even though I previously mentioned that you don't feel rested and you feel so tired all the time, your body is completely unable to wind down. So you lay awake all night long thinking of all the things that you need to do and really wishing that you could just fall asleep.
Your body is not able to regenerate cells and repair tissue because of the stress and lack of sleep, therefore increasing the brain fog.
Another symptom is you are getting sick often. Your immune system is compromised because all of the nutrients and the vital minerals that are needed to promote a healthy immune system are being shunted away from the processes of keeping you healthy and to recover faster through a built-up immune system. The vitamins and minerals are being shunted away to protect you during times of stress and aid the stress response system within your HPA axis.
Something to note, the adrenal glands demand the most Vitamin C than any other tissue or gland in the body and that need increases exponentially as stress increases. Vitamin C is critical to the immune system as it gives antioxidant protection
You may also have difficultly getting over sicknesses. Colds and infections linger longer and it seems like you never fully recover. Ever had a month of sickness? This is a sign of stress.
Decreased sex drive
Another symptom of adrenal fatigue and chronic stress is you have a decreased sex drive and how horrible is that?!? I mean at least you could enjoy that, right? Unfortunately, your hormones are completely imbalanced because your body is saying you are so stressed and now is not the time for reproduction. So again, it's shunting away those resources that lead to a healthy hormone balance to instead keeping your body in that fight or flight response.
There can be other repercussions of hormone imbalance: weight gain, fatigue, irritability, increased PMS or menopause symptoms.
If any of these symptoms ring true for you then you very well could have adrenal fatigue. In fact, in some studies, it has been shown that approximately eight out of ten people have some degree of adrenal fatigue. It could be mild, moderate, or severe and any where in between those lines.
If you feel that this is something that you are dealing with I encourage you to download my five signs of burnout, where I go a little bit deeper into some of these signs that could be leading you to a burnout very quickly. If you go to erickaeller.com/burnout, you will get your hands on that PDF immediately!
You can also read more about Adrenal Fatigue HERE.
In the meantime, if you have any questions feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you!
Whole Health. Whole Love. Whole Success.