How to spot adrenal fatigue signs and symptoms

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Stress is caused by any kind of 'assault' on your body or mind. This stress can be real or imagined. In other words, it is your perception of events that could increase your risk of developing adrenal fatigue symptoms. (You might have search for 'adrenal gland symptoms', but it's likely that this page on adrenal fatigue will give you the info you're looking for.)

It's useful for you to know what can put pressure on your adrenal glands to perform. You'll find lots of contributing factors listed on my page about the biggest causes of stress (see links further down).

In addition to those, the list below shows other kinds of stresses that can add to your chances of developing symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

15 potentially harmful influences that can contribute to adrenal fatigue symptoms

You're unlikely to be surprised by some of the points in the following list, but others will doubtless set you thinking. You may find it hard to think of some of them as damaging and possibly contributing to adrenal fatigue symptoms.

However, we have a body and mind designed for life as it was many thousands of years ago. Once you take that into consideration, you'll find it easier to see what potential harm your body is exposed to every day...

15 Stresses undermining your body/mind

  1. Environmental pollutants
  2. Noise - some people are naturally more sensitive to noise than others, BUT there is a limit to what's healthy (see further down)
  3. Dehydration - your body consists of about 60% water if you're a man and 70% if you're a woman, so of course it's going to be stressed if it's dehydrated!
  4. Vigorous and excessive exercise
  5. Poor food choices/availability - not fresh, poor quality, full of antibiotics and/or pesticides, too much of one type or another and so on
  6. Food intolerance or allergies, malabsorption (nutrients are poorly absorbed), maldigestion (poor digestion)
  7. Other allergies
  8. Exposure to extreme hot or cold, or damp
  9. Poor housing - this potentially has social, environmental, psychological and physical consequences
  10. Disruption of the 'natural' light cycle (shift work)
  11. Addictions
  12. Inflammation - swelling, sensitivity, pain, heat in your body
  13. Lack of sufficient sleep - either because you stretch the time you stay awake, or because you suffer from sleep deprivation for other reasons
  14. Relationship problems
  15. Work-related problems

If you're suffering from mental or physical health problems, please do not attempt to self-diagnose based on the information on these pages. I have provided the information for you to start your journey to better health and well-being, taking responsibility for your own decisions, based on your own research.

Please consult your health-care provider/physician to discuss the information I have provided.

Piles of paperworkModern day stress!

Signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue

Adrenal insufficiency and fatigue is said to occur when the ability of your adrenal glands to respond efficiently and effortlessly does not match the demands. It was Dr James Wilson (see links) who first coined the phrase adrenal fatigue syndrome. Here is a quote from Dr Wilson's website:

"In short, adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress or combined stresses over-extend the capacity of the body (mediated by the adrenals) to compensate for and recover from that stress. Once this capacity to cope and recover is exceeded, some form of adrenal fatigue is likely to occur."

- Dr James Wilson

It is thought that the symptoms of adrenal fatigue appear when your adrenal glands are no longer able to recover fully from the demands made on them.

This leads to suboptimal adrenal performance. To help you understand more about how the adrenal glands work, I can recommend Dr Mercola's page on understanding adrenal function (see links).

Please note though, that these symptoms can also mean a whole host of other problems. You will need to a qualified and sympathetic medical practitioner to help you figure out what is really going on for you.

18 Signs and symptoms of potentially poorly functioning adrenal gland

  1. Feeling exhausted after even minor effort (physical or mental)
  2. Waking up feeling tired, not refreshed after sleep, starting your day off worrying and feeling depressed
  3. Being troubled by unpleasant or excessive dreaming
  4. Rest doesn't provide relief
  5. Feeling depressed
  6. Anxiety - as if something bad is going to happen (if you've always been anxious, Have a look at this well-researched method: Panic Miracle)
  7. Excessive worrying
  8. Irritability, frustration, anger
  9. Difficulty concentrating, confusion, 'brain fog'
  10. Sleep problems - racing thoughts at all hours of the night, difficulty falling and/or staying asleep
  11. Needing caffeine in whatever shape or solution to get you through the day
  12. Low blood pressure, dizziness when standing up, light-headedness (your blood pressure should rise when you stand up to accommodate the change in posture; if this doesn't happen it could be a sign of weakened adrenal glands)
  13. Inflammation of various kinds - though this in itself can cause strain on the adrenal glands
  14. Auto-immune disorders
  15. Low immunity, frequent infections
  16. Alcohol intolerance
  17. Weak nails
  18. Reduced thyroid output (hypothyroidism, which also happens with iodine deficiency)

This list of adrenal fatigue symptoms is by no means exhaustive. However, it gives a real insight into the huge role your adrenal glands play in your body and mind. Adrenal fatigue syndrome therefore requires active management. Part 3 of this series will tell you all about adrenal fatigue treatment.

However, I do want to point out that adrenal fatigue syndrome is not necessarily recognised by the medical establishment. From my point of view - I'd ideally want you to consult your doctor if you're suffering from any symptoms of adrenal fatigue, as they may be signs of another serious health condition.

The consequences of adrenal fatigue syndrome

When you're suffering from adrenal fatigue syndrome, your capacity to deal with what others may call 'normal', day-to-day activities is severely challenged. Any 'ordinary' demands from your loved ones, from work, from friends - regardless of how 'enjoyable' or 'simple' they may seem - all feel too much. Particularly stressful events or stressful periods of time appear even more insurmountable. It's utterly frustrating when you're used to living life to the full. You feel irritable, tired and generally 'under the weather'.

Your bed is your sanctuary, but rest doesn't appear to lead to recovery and you feel exhausted even on waking. It's become impossible for you to meet your essential emotional needs. No wonder then, that you start to feel depressed and you're desperate to get back in control.  

Your relationship or marriage is likely to suffer, as the dynamics between the two of you will have changed - with you having become increasingly dependent on your partner.

If you think you're suffering from adrenal fatigue symptoms, see it as a warning that it's time to slow down - at the very least!

Part 1: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.  Part 3: Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

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Dr James Wilson

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