Adrenal Fatigue is most often the result of lots of stress over a long period of time. Sometimes a one-off event such as a serious illness or accident will be the precursor, but most often it's stress.
Stress is cumulative if it isn't dealt with in a healthy way. When someone experiences one stressful event after another, there's a layering effect that takes place because the adrenal glands release their stress hormones with each episode of stress that's experienced.
Let's look at an example of a healthy stress response. Cast your mind back to the days of the caveman. He would leave the safety of his cave to go and hunt for his dinner and suddenly a sabre tooth tiger jumps out in front of him. Immediately, his body goes into fight or flight mode and he must, in an instant of time, make a decision....will he stand and fight or will he run and hide? Self preservation kicks in and he runs for his life back to his cave and pulls the rock across the door. He sits down and gathers his thoughts, then he lies down and goes to sleep for an hour or two. Meanwhile, his stress hormones reset, gradually go back to normal and when he wakes, he feels rested and refreshed and ready to go hunting again.
Fast forward to 2017....when you face a stressful situation, your body responds in the same way as the primitive caveman....the fight or flight response is activated and your adrenals release stress hormones. If you don't give yourself the space to recover from your stress and deal with it in a healthy way, it builds up in your body until one day, your adrenals become exhausted and have no more to give, so to speak. This process has no defined length of time; it may be a short period for some, or a long period for others. It varies depending on the individual.
Knowing that stress is at the basis of adrenal fatigue, looking back over the previous weeks, months, or even years, you can start to identify what has brought you to this point. But more importantly, what can you do about it?
We will have a look at this in the next post.
Until then, stay positive and enjoy your journey to health and wellness.