Chronic Fatigue

Four Main Stressors Related to Adrenal Fatigue

stress relievers, get moving, be in nature, meet a friend, be positive

According to the American Institute of Stress, “approximately 33% of Americans report feeling extreme stress” in 2014. Furthermore, 77% experience stress that impacts their physical health, 73% experience stress that affects their mental health, and 48% have developed sleeping issues due to their stress¹. Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of growing up and life in general.

When people are constantly in states of turmoil or pressure, this can have drastic effects on the health of the individual. Depending on how someone reacts, a person can experience symptoms of rapid breathing, hypertension, sharp headaches, low libido, stomachache, missed periods (in women), tense muscles, sweating, and jitteriness. The emotion can also cause changes in the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the reproductive system and the endocrine system. However, one of the most common conditions caused by chronic stress is adrenal fatigue. For those unaware, the adrenal glands are responsible for creating the stress hormones that are meant to help people handle stressors. When a stressful situation is occurring, the brain surveys the events and deems it as overwhelming. To best handle it, the brain will send a message to the adrenal glands to release more cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline into the body. These extra hormones are what causes the symptoms of stress to transpire. If one is continuously dealing with chronic stress, the adrenal glands will burn out and will not be able to produce the same amount of hormones that it once did, thus causing one to become fatigued.

Conventional doctors don’t recognize adrenal fatigue as an official condition due to little scientific evidence supporting its theory. In addition, they claim that the symptom of fatigue and stress are both nonspecific. Since people examine situations differently, the idea of stress causing a chronic illness seems to be unproven. However, at LifeWorks Wellness Center, we’ve treated patients who have had low cortisol levels. Determining the stress of each patient can be difficult, although for most, adrenal fatigue develops due to four main stressors. Below are the four main stressors that are associated with adrenal fatigue.

  1. Career

One of the most common causes of chronic stress usually involves one’s professional life. The American Institute of Stress stated that 40% of United States workers admit to working in “extremely stressful” work environments, meanwhile a quarter of the American population report their job being “the number one stressor in their lives”². There isn’t one single cause of stress in the workplace as it can vary amongst employees and can even be a combination of different factors. These causes can include:

  • dealing with a toxic boss/supervisor
  • working long hours
  • poor communication and management
  • having unclear expectations
  • insecurities of advancement chances
  • discrimination
  • harassment
  • being unhappy with work-life balance
  • not making enough income
  • taking on too much responsibility

Additionally, even positive aspects in a workplace can bring on stress to an employee such as a job promotion. Many patients that suffer from adrenal fatigue often report having a stressful professional life, which ultimately could’ve been the cause of their condition.

  1. Life Changes

This might seem very broad, however some people are better at adapting to change than others. On the other hand, some people may suffer from severe anxiety at the thought of dealing with something out of their element or comfort zone. Whether it’s positive or negative, a life change can come with periods of uncertainty and sometimes this can intimidate people. As a result, it can bring on symptoms of brief or chronic stress. An example of life changes that cause adrenal fatigue are:

  • moving to a new town, city or state
  • being laid off or fired from a job
  • dealing with a divorce, getting married
  • transitioning from college to the workforce
  • the death of a loved one

Normally, those with adrenal fatigue have managed to cope with these types of life changes, along with the other issues that may have transpired throughout their daily lives. As a result, their health becomes compromised, and they experience symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

  1. Finances

Whether we know it or not, everyone at some point in their lives have dealt with financial stress. Figuring out strategies to best manage our own finances is not an easy feat, and it doesn’t get better once we begin to pay taxes or deal with the Internal Revenue Service. The American Psychological Association (APA) performed a study that revealed approximately 72% of Americans have dealt with money stress at some point in their lives³. People who find themselves in dire financial situations end up there due to:

  • overspending
  • not budgeting
  • not keeping track of income and expenses
  • not investing in stocks (or the right stocks)
  • not paying bills on time (resulting in late fees/poor credit)
  • failing to invest in an IRA, mutual fund or 401K for retirement
  • making poor business investments (for private business owners)
  • not paying mortgage or rent
  • losing a job causing a loss of income
  • falling into debt or filing for bankruptcy

These financial issues can cause turmoil in marriages, family life, and eventually impact the adrenal glands if these issues are not resolved in time.

  1. Fear

While this is an emotion tied in with anxiety, it is often the driving factor of stress, thus causing adrenal fatigue. What makes this a trickier topic compared to other stressors is that people can have a fear of different things. Someone who suffers from severe arachnophobia may develop symptoms of stress from the sight of a spider, meanwhile others may just step on it, throw it in the trash and go about their day without a second thought. Other individuals who suffer from Glossophobia may experience stress at the thought of making a speech in front of a large audience. People that endure social anxieties, fear of the unknown, fear of isolation, fear of failure or fear of having little to no control over situations are at high risk of adrenal fatigue if they don’t learn to overcome them or resolve them in a delicate manner. Furthermore, while fear can have drastic impacts on our overall health, it can also completely dominate how someone decides to live their life, and even intervene with it depending on its severity. For example, someone who is afraid of getting into a car accident may avoid driving, and as a result, not be able to find alternative transportation to a job or a doctor’s appointment. It’s a powerful emotion that can have drastic consequences if it’s not taken care of immediately.

Steps to Take to Reduce Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

Regardless of the stressful situation that you’re in, understand that you’re not alone. Everyone has their own personal struggles that they’re dealing with in more ways than one. Additionally, there are more people who are unaware that they have adrenal fatigue due to most conventional doctors ignoring the existence of the condition. Those who want to avoid getting adrenal fatigue should focus on maintaining a healthy diet, communicate with others who might understand why you feel stressed, follow a regular sleep schedule, exercise, find a hobby and improve your self-esteem.

For those who believe that they have adrenal fatigue, it’s best to follow the steps above and talk to a LifeWorks practitioner to discuss symptoms and treatment options. We’ll help correct your hormonal imbalance along with providing a proper supplement regimen, peptides, dietary changes, and detoxification therapies. To schedule an appointment with a LifeWorks practitioner, please call 727-466-6789. Learn more about adrenal fatigue or our treatment options.

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About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.