Are you always tired? Do you feel irritable, light headed when standing quickly, have a low sex drive, find it really hard to concentrate, crave salt or sugar and have problems with your digestion? Perhaps you've had more coughs and colds than normal?
If these symptoms sound familiar, apart from the fact that they are all typical signs of stress, you may be suffering from a recently recognised stress disorder called Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. This new syndrome covers a large group of non specific symptoms and it's now become so commonplace that it's actually recognised now by the World Health Organisation.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndromes occurs - simply - because the adrenal glands, the ones that are located just above the kidneys, get overworked. The adrenal glands work in times of stress to help the body cope by pumping out high levels of the hormone cortisol during short term periods of high stress.
The problem these days however is that the adrenal glands 'burn out' as the body is almost always under stress, with the result that the glands tire, and the levels of cortisol in the body plummet, meaning that the sufferer can no longer respond effectively to high pressure situations.
Sufferers of this syndrome can show no signs of a physical illness; instead they live with a general sense of being ill, tired and generally not 'feeling right'. People suffering from this syndrome also find they have to use stimulants such as caffeine, coffee, and colas to keep themselves going through the day. Going to bed increasingly earlier and still having difficulty getting up in the mornings, waking up still feeling tired, is also a common symptom of the syndrome.
Many people with chronic or clinical stress disorders have problems sleeping - and lack of sleep is the main cause of adrenal syndrome - which further agitates the situation because adrenal syndrome sufferers need more sleep. This condition has been shown to affect more women than men.
Obviously, it goes without saying, if you suspect this syndrome for causing your feelings, you need to see your doctor or other medical practitioner. The term adrenal fatigue is now starting to be recognised by mainstream medical services worldwide. Medical treatments are basic in their own right, the treatments being based on stress disorders, but one of the main, major aspects of this illness seems to be mentally induced, although subconsciously.
If you are constantly putting yourself under pressure to achieve, constantly feel powerless or out of control, trying to be perfect, staying in a no-win situation too long, you subconsciously put your own body under pressure. This is the major symptom that should be treated first - take time out, completely switch off from your busy life. Learn to relax or destress - yoga, meditation and exercise are the best ways to beat this syndrome.
Accept yourself for who you are and what you stand for - not what other people, or society, say you should be. Stop trying to compete, to be someone you aren't.
Follow this up with a proper diet, eat a lot of whole grains, oily fish, plenty of fruit and reinforce this by taking magnesium, B5 and vitamins C and B12.
And, most of all, simply respect yourself for the person you really are. This step alone will help remove you from the stressful situations that force your body to defend itself. Just be yourself, and respect yourself enough to give yourself some decent time out from your stressful life. Your body will thank you for it. Accept and respect your body's early warning signs and take a step back for a richer, more rewarding life that will be full of energy.
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