Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome - a term first brought to the world by naturopathic doctor James Wilson - is a very real 'syndrome' involving a complex group of symptoms which all track back to severe exhaustion and depletion of the adrenal glands. These two glands sit on top of the kidneys, playing a key role in the endocrine system for maintaining chemical homeostasis in the body.
The adrenals are mostly known for creating two vital hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which are necessary for managing stress.
Initially, in the first stage of adrenal fatigue, the adrenals will over-produce stress hormones, but if the life stressors (which can be many and various) continue, eventually the adrenals will become ‘exhausted’ and under-produce hormones, which in turn can be a precursor to a host of other conditions such as metabolic syndrome, under- or overactive thyroid, Addison’s Disease, Hashimotos and more.
The point to understand here is that a variety of more serious chronic conditions often rest on a bedrock of severe adrenal depletion. And unless we do something to replete and regenerate these glands, trying to address these other conditions can be a like trying to fill up a bucket with water with holes in it.
For many people, experiencing adrenal fatigue, they are often unaware of what is really going on, although they may have felt significantly 'out of sorts' for some time.
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys, playing a key role in the endocrine system for maintaining chemical homeostasis in the body. They are mostly known for creating two vital hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which are necessary for managing stress.
Initially, in the first stage of adrenal fatigue, the adrenals will over-produce stress hormones, but if the life stressors (which can be many fold) continue, eventually the adrenals will become ‘exhausted’ and under-produce. According to many medical professionals this can be a precursor to a host of other conditions such as metabolic syndrome, under- or overactive thyroid, Addison’s Disease, Hashimotos and more.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome can include:
Clients are often told by their doctor ‘it’s all in your head, just go home and get a good night's sleep’ but nothing could be less useful or further from the truth.
Let's look a little deeper at what's going on...
In the 1930’s, Hans Selye was the first doctor to delve deeply into the effects of stress when he put forward his ‘General Adaptive Syndrome’ (GAS) theory delineating 3 main stages of stress:
Stage 1 - the stress / alarm ‘in crisis’ phase
Stage 2 - the adaptation ‘keeping going - pushing through’ phase
Stage 3 - the exhaustion ‘final collapse’ phase.
Unfortunately most people only become aware their adrenals are fatigued once they reach stage 3 although health may will most likely already be affected during the first two stages.
My personal experience of the onset of adrenal fatigue began in my 30’s. Over a period of months I noticed I was getting more and more tired. ‘Having a good night’s sleep’ made no difference, and as my stress levels and intolerance increased, it was clear something was amiss.
Week after week I noticed I was getting more and more tired for no apparent reason. It didn't matter if I went to bed early, took it easy over the weekend or even went on holiday... the exhaustion remained.
Then one day I walked into work and simply quit on the spot. I just couldn't go on. I was completely exhausted and the thought of walking into that office one more day and copying with work was just too much.
Shortly after that I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, which I later recognized was a furtherance of adrenal fatigue. I found myself unable to work for the next 10 years.
For the next 15 years I hunted for the causes and solutions of chronic exhaustion conditions, finally bringing myself back to good health. Fortunately I can now short cut years of exhaustion to a few months of recovery for the clients I now help.
Once the real cause of the problem is identified, the solutions usually become crystal clear. So it is essential that this first step of problem-identification is not missed!
In my experience, the real causes of the problem start years before any tiredness starts showing up. This is where things can get confusing for people, because these 'causes' have often been overlooked.
They include events such as childhood traumas, ongoing life stressors and unresolved emotional upsets, as well as unhealthy habits such as pushing ourselves too hard on an ongoing basis, putting up with unkind behaviour from others, and basically putting ourselves at the bottom of our 'to-do' list.
All these facets of life need to be addressed to effect proper recovery, and with the right guidance this can be much easier than you may think, and take a lot less time than trying to do it all by yourself.
Here are a few starting tips:
I haven't felt well since...
If you haven’t felt well for a while, but have only been half noticing it and pushing on, complete the statement “I haven’t been well since....” and take a reality check.
In order to improve any unwanted situation we MUST start where we are and recognize the truth of how things are right now, and isolate and identify the cause. Then we can move on to solutions from there.
The good news is, with understanding and commitment, full recovery IS possible, and it doesn't have to take years.
You can find more information inside the program including:
Stop putting everyone elses' needs before your own. When you put yourself first and prioritize your needs, your energy will come back, because you will no longer be exhausting yourself and trapping emotions inside which lead to chronic fatigue.
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