Adrenal fatigue is caused when the body's adrenal glands function below the normal level. It's sometimes referred to as “The 21st Century Stress Syndrome,” and is often under-diagnosed and, therefore, improperly treated. However, that's not just because doctors sometimes mistake it for other ailments, such as depression.
Like Organic Soul on Facebook
The lack of proper diagnoses also occurs because people experience the symptoms, yet ignore them, either because they think the issues will resolve without intervention, or they just have the impression it's “normal” to feel the way they do. Put simply, the adrenal gland makes hormones, including cortisol, which is produced in excess when the body is under stress.
Some people believe if the adrenal gland is taxed, it doesn't produce enough hormones, which causes a wide variety of problems. Let's take a look at eight signs of adrenal fatigue, so you'll be better equipped to recognize them, whether in yourself or a loved one.
1. Chronic Tiredness
You probably already know it's necessary to get an adequate amount of sleep in order to function properly through your days. However, people with adrenal fatigue often suffer from chronic tiredness that's so severe, they feel sleepy even just shortly after getting out of bed.
Because chronic tiredness can also be attributed to many other health problems, it's a good idea to get a full workup from your doctor to ensure there's not something else going on.
2. Difficulty Concentrating, Especially When Completing Tasks
It's normal for your concentration to waver from time to time, but if that's happening often, adrenal fatigue may be to blame. People with adrenal fatigue report having trouble with concentration, especially when they're tasked with completing specific things.
This issue can carry over into many parts of life, from the workplace to school. It can also make people think you're lazy or careless, even if you have the best intentions of getting a task done as well as you can.
3. Getting Sick More Easily Or Taking Longer To Recover
Being sick is never fun, and many people go to great lengths to ensure they protect themselves from illnesses as much as possible. Taking vitamins, getting enough rest and washing your hands thoroughly are just three of many things you can do to reduce your chances of getting sick.
However, if you're dealing with adrenal fatigue, even those proactive strategies might not help as much as you expect.
Adrenal fatigue can make you more prone to catching illnesses, especially those that affect the respiratory system. Similarly, you may find when you do get sick that it takes longer than it used to before you feel like yourself again.
4. A Strange Craving For Salt Or Sugar
Maybe you've always had a sweet tooth or liked salty foods. However, if your desire to eat sweet or salty foods is suddenly stronger than it once was, that could be due to an adrenal gland fatigue problem.
When your body lacks certain elements, it may start to crave salt or sugar to replenish the deficit. Also, the adrenal gland is partially responsible for the body's metabolism, which may make you have extremely strong salt and sugar cravings.
If you suspect you've wanted to eat sugar and salt more than usual but aren't certain, consider keeping a food diary and recording everything you eat. After collecting a month's worth of data, it will be easy to see whether or not your suspicions are true.
5. Fainting Spells Or Low Blood Pressure
If you often experience abnormally low blood pressure that becomes so severe that it leads to fainting, the problem could be caused by insufficient adrenal gland functionality.
The adrenal gland impacts blood pressure, and if it's not working correctly, your blood pressure may not be at a normal level. Just before fainting, you may also experience other strange symptoms, such as feeling lightheaded or dizzy. If these problems persist, it's crucial to see your doctor as soon as possible.
6. Feeling Unwilling To Engage In Your Days
When adrenal fatigue is particularly severe, you may feel so exhausted and in a severely down mood that you wish you could avoid even getting out of bed. You may also feel depressed but be unable to pinpoint a specific reason for your low demeanor.
Some health practitioners say adrenal fatigue is often misdiagnosed as depression. Even so, it's still a good idea to visit a mental health professional if you're feeling so depressed that your quality of life is adversely affected and across a prolonged period of time. There's no need to feel as if life isn't worth living, and targeted treatments could help you get back on track.
7. Low Sex Drive
If you're struggling with a low libido, keep in mind there are many things that could be causing it. However, an adrenal gland malfunction is one of them. When your sex drive isn't what it used to be, examine the situation closely, and determine if there are other contributing factors.
For example, if your partner is often preoccupied with work, you may not feel as eager to engage in intimacy because you don't feel adequately valued.
Furthermore, if you both are so busy you feel there's not an adequate amount of remaining time to spend in the bedroom, it may feel easiest to go without sex rather than try to make time for it.
8 Decreased Resilience
Some people find they're not able to cope with life's stresses as calmly as before. If that sounds familiar, you might be affected by adrenal fatigue. As mentioned previously, when people are overly stressed, the adrenal gland produces a hormone called cortisol.
If you're constantly under stress, it will naturally be harder to bounce back to your normal self during and after periods of stress.
Treatment For Adrenal Fatigue
There are numerous strategies health experts recommend for treating adrenal fatigue. Some of them relate to diet. For starters, get rid of sugars and processed grains, and eat plenty of healthy fats, fresh produce and natural salt.
Also, if you're a frequent coffee drinker, swap out that beverage in favor of green tea. It's also crucial to take steps to remove stress from your life as much as possible.
Everyone deals with stress from time to time, but there's a good chance that excessive stress is what caused you to deal with adrenal fatigue at all. You may have to make tough choices, like deciding to give up some obligations to allow yourself time to rest and unwind, but doing so is necessary to focus on personal well-being.
If you find it's very hard to cope with stressful situations in healthy ways, it's worthwhile to consider taking up meditation or yoga, especially if you normally gravitate towards unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive eating and alcohol consumption.
Hopefully, you now understand why so many people procrastinate about taking care of their adrenal fatigue symptoms. Many may think their ailments are just normal because of life's hectic pace, but that's not quite true.