Adrenal fatigue syndrome

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I'm don't like labels, but 'adrenal fatigue syndrome' is mentioned more and more often.

Labels don't reflect the enormous complexity of human nature, or the links between what happens in one part of our body and another.

Did you know, for example, that your adrenal glands work together with your thyroid? So often 'labels' stick, as if they're somehow exacting, and professionals prescribe treatment for the condition (label) rather than looking at the whole person overall.

Nevertheless, I do think that the term adrenal fatigue syndrome organises the diversity of body/mind responses to - and fall-out from - prolonged stress very well. That's why I have written this page...

I so hope the information will help you on the road to recovery from having worn out adrenal glands to getting back to your 'old self' again.

Support from your partner?

Be sure to let your partner, or other loved ones, read this too. It may help them to understand that you've not been your 'normal' self due to 'adrenal gland fatigue'.

I do recognise, though, that your relationship or marriage may be one of your sources of stress and if so, support may be thin on the ground. Hang on in there, I'm here for you, and so hope to help you with the all the information on my site.

At the bottom of this article I'll point you towards my page on adrenal fatigue symptoms. Hopefully you'll then begin to understand even more clearly what's happening with you.

So, if you are (or someone else you know is) suffering from massive stress, read on... help is at hand.

Do you want to make a start on sorting yourself out right away? Then let me direct you to a method I recommend without hesitation. It's called the Panic Miracle, but don't stare yourself blind on 'panic' - it's great for anyone suffering from excessive amounts of stress.

In or out of control of your symptoms?

Perhaps I can help you to gain some insight into adrenal fatigue syndrome, and with that a sense of ownership and control. The latter are especially important when you're likely to feel so frighteningly out of control right now.

The information on this page will help you in your discussions with your doctor, counsellor/psychotherapist, nutritionist or other health professional about adrenal fatigue syndrome. This means you'll be more likely to feel confident in making joint decisions regarding what to do about your anxiety, depression and general fatigue etc.

The workings of your adrenal glands

Your adrenal glands sit at the top of your kidneys and are about the size of a walnut.

They send 'messages' in the form of chemicals (hormones) to muster appropriate resources in your body and mind to let you deal with whatever's going on in your internal and external environment.

You adrenal glands manufacture and secrete:

  • adrenaline (epinephrine)
  • cortisol - the 'stress hormone'
  • oestrogen
  • testosterone
  • other hormones

Your adrenals also respond to the withdrawal of those stressors - the quiet after the storm.

What do the adrenal glands do?

The adrenal glands react to every shift and nuance in tandem with what's happening inside your body and the external events of your every day life. They are constantly turning processes up and down according to need.  

As James Wilson says, the job of the adrenal glands is "to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationship problems. Your resiliency, energy, endurance and your very life all depend on their proper functioning."*

When your body works well and stresses are not excessive and - more importantly - prolonged, you won't suffer from adrenal gland fatigue.

When it comes to an increase in stress - perhaps your relationship is in trouble, your kids 'misbehave' all the time, your financial worries are getting on top of you, you suffer from excessive stress at work and so on - your adrenal glands are particularly on guard. They're like two members of your 24/7 personal protection team.

You adrenal glands ensure an immediate response to an 'assault' (in the widest sense) or indeed perceived attack on your well-being, sense of safety and security. You'll have available all the resources needed to fight or flee (or 'tend and befriend' - but this is more often women).

The stressors you're exposed to differ greatly from those your adrenal glands were designed for. In ancient times the stressors human beings had to deal with were more likely to have been of short duration.

No wonder then that you're more likely to suffer from adrenal fatigue syndrome after a prolonged and/or highly stressful situation or event. This is where your adrenal glands start to affect the normal function of your thyroid, which may be the cause of your under-performing thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

From pressure to stress

What about you? Let's look at what might turn pressure into stress for you.

What might put you at risk of developing adrenal fatigue syndrome?

To determine your risk factors, you need to take the following into consideration:

  • your perception of the stressor, rather than what exactly it is
  • the length of time you're exposed to a stressful situation
  • your personality
  • your personal history and development - both mental and physical
  • your family history
  • your genes (remember though that you can 'switch' genes on and off through life-style choices!)

If you're suffering from mental or physical health problems, please do not attempt to self-diagnose based on the information on these pages.  Please consult your health-care provider/physician to discuss the information I have provided.

Read on to discover in Part 2 the causes and symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome...

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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Other Helpful Links

Press release: Adrenal fatigue - unrecognised and under-treated


*Wilson, J. Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. Smart Publications, p. 3, 2002., via

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