Adrenal fatigue is a silent condition encountered by millions of people the world over. Yet conventional medicine does not recognize it as a medical condition. The reasons for this may vary, but the most common may be the fact that adrenal fatigue has so many varied symptoms and related conditions. The net result is that these symptoms and conditions are often treated as stand-alone issues, without looking at the root cause of the problem – overworked, compromised adrenal glands and the reason or reasons for this state of affairs. But just as the causes of adrenal fatigue and its myriad symptoms are different from one person to the next, so is effective adrenal fatigue treatment, and, just as the condition creeps up over a period, so too will the period of recovery take some time.
Common Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
There are many possible reasons for the development of adrenal fatigue. There are, however, several that are quite common, and the result of factors we are exposed to on a daily basis without even being aware of them.
Chronic stress if possibly one of the major factors that come into play with regards to the development of adrenal fatigue. It may be related to your work, home life, or other related issues. Chronic stress often leads to such psychological conditions as anxiety, depression, and a decline in cognitive function. This is because of an increase in cortisol that results in hormonal imbalances within your body.
Trauma is usually associated with an accident where your body is severely damaged. But even an operation causes trauma to your body and has a serious impact on your adrenals. Trauma, of any kind, according to research, may have a lasting negative impact on your body for years.
The average American diet incorporates a significant percentage of fast foods and processed foods. Processed foods often contain chemical preservatives, colorants, flavorings, and texturants that are specifically designed to make the food more appealing. In many cases, manufacturers do not need to specifically stipulate what these added chemicals are.
In the case of fast foods, people often become addicted. This is because people often become accustomed to, and crave, the dopamine rush so often felt when eating these foods. The reason for this is the high sugar and processed carbohydrate percentages commonly found in these foods. Carbohydrates are quickly broken down into glucose, and added to the large sugar percentages, resulting in a sugar ‘high’ accompanied by spikes in your blood glucose levels. This, of course, has a profound effect on your insulin levels, and may, ultimately, result in a condition that is often seen in those with adrenal fatigue, namely, diabetes.
Environmental toxins are huge stressors to the body, yet they are found all around us. Sources of these toxins are not only the emissions from cars and factories but are to be found in the home as well. In the home, these toxins may come from our carpets, furniture upholstery, and the cleaning products we use on a daily basis.
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are increasingly becoming a factor with regards to adrenal fatigue. Our homes and places of work are filled with electronic and electrical devices which constantly give off EMFs. Invisible lines of force created by electrical currents, EMFs have the ability to affect your body at the cellular level and may impact your genes, immune system, brain waves, nervous system, and endocrine system.
Western Medical Treatment for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS)
As mentioned, conventional, western medicine does not recognize adrenal fatigue as a medical condition. It does, however, recognize a condition that is very closely related to many of its symptoms overlapping. This is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Although the two conditions are extremely similar, please take note that they are not the same thing. There is no recognized cure for CFS as yet, although adrenal fatigue treatment does seem to help those with this condition. Presently, Western Medicine treats this condition by means of painkillers, antivirals, and sleeping medications, amongst myriad others. In the same way, however, adrenal fatigue symptoms and treatment is not looked at from a holistic viewpoint that treats the root cause but is rather treated symptomatically instead.
The problem with adrenal fatigue treatment, or even identifying the condition, is that blood tests do not show an actual result for the condition itself. Blood tests tend to look for certain, specific markers in order for any condition to be identified. With adrenal fatigue, however, a patient’s lab results might show well within normal ranges. One patient’s symptoms might also vary greatly from the next. Your symptoms may also depend on your particular stage of adrenal fatigue. Whereas your cortisol levels may be high during the initial stages, for example, they may be very low during the latter stages. This makes not only diagnosing the condition so difficult but deciding on the adrenal fatigue treatment necessary that will best benefit you as well.
Natural Adrenal Fatigue Treatment
When it comes to medications specifically targeted at adrenal fatigue treatment, you may find a number of paradoxical reactions. This is also the case when many people try to self-medicate. Some of these reactions may include the following:
- They may develop sleeping problems or sleeping problems may increase
- They may develop heart palpitations
- They may feel even more fatigued
- They may notice an increase in anxiety
- They may develop brain fog or not an increase
- They may suffer from dizziness or lightheadedness or notice an increase
- They may go into an adrenal crash
These reactions may be due to the neuronendometabolic (NEM) stress response, i.e. the body’s automatic reaction to stress, not being in a state of homeostasis. Adrenal fatigue treatment incorporating the use of medications of any sort should thus, ideally, only be considered with the guidance of an experienced healthcare practitioner who is very well acquainted with the condition.
There is, however, natural resource when it comes to the treatment of adrenal fatigue.
Natural Solutions to Adrenal Fatigue
Natural adrenal fatigue treatment is a holistic approach that looks at treating the root cause of the condition while improving overall body function. It is something anyone can start doing at any time.
- Address the mental stress issues – These may be related to your job, your personal life, or money matters
- Sleep is important – Aim for at least eight hours a night. Your body and adrenals use this time to restore themselves.
- Get off the couch – Gentle exercise is the best medicine. This implies walking, gentle aerobics, or yoga. Remember that high-impact exercise or over-exercising may be harmful if you have adrenal fatigue. Gentler forms of exercise, on the other hand, help tone muscles, help reduce depression and normalize cortisol, insulin, thyroid, and blood glucose levels.
- Watch what you eat – While takeout is an easy option for someone for whom time is a factor, they are high in additives and preservatives that can cause a toxic buildup without having the essential nutrients your body needs for adrenal health.
- Keep electromagnetic exposure to a minimum – EMFs may prevent the increase of melatonin levels necessary for sleep. Try keeping electrical appliances out of the bedroom.
- Consider safe supplements – Many supplements are effective in upping your nutritional needs that are so often lacking in the diet. Be careful with these, because taking the wrong supplements, however well-intentioned, may have a negative effect on your condition. Supplements should take your particular stage of adrenal fatigue into consideration.
There are no one-size fits all solution when it comes to adrenal fatigue treatment. For the most part, effective treatment for adrenal fatigue depends on a variety of factors, including addressing the root cause, your particular set of symptoms, and your stage of adrenal fatigue. Although there is much you can do to help yourself, when it comes to using specific medications or supplements, the best course of action is to do so with the guidance of someone who is qualified to make the correct recommendation(s).
Irene Colling Boshoff is an ex-educator turned writer. Her interest in the natural health field, more especially adrenal health, came about after a two-year stint battling depression. Becoming addicted to the medication she was on at the time, Irene started exploring the reason for her condition, realizing adrenal fatigue, was, to a large extent, the underlying cause and acted on it. She has been off medication for 14 years.
When it comes to adrenal fatigue treatment, many factors need consideration, as the condition itself has different stages, each with its own corresponding set of possible symptoms. Similarly, no two people with the condition necessarily present the exact same set of symptoms. While there is much you can do to help yourself with regards to adrenal fatigue treatment, such as dietary, lifestyle and other changes, medications and supplements should best be considered only with the guidance of a healthcare professional who is well-versed with regards to the condition.