What is Adrenal Fatigue and Do I Have It?
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What is Adrenal Fatigue and Do I Have It?

What is Adrenal Fatigue? How do you know if you have it? Should you be concerned? This will help you get on the road to recovery, answering many common questions and more!

Considered the “stress syndrome” of the 20th century, adrenal fatigue is still an under-diagnosed and little understood condition. More people than ever before are battling with chronically depleted adrenal glands, yet it is unrecognized by most doctors.

Perhaps you have struggled for a long time with always being tired, for reasons you just can’t quite understand. Maybe several years of stressful circumstance after stressful circumstance have left you frequently sick, irritable, worn out or depressed. You might have pushed yourself physically too hard for too long, and found yourself suddenly unable to push anymore, your reserves completely drained.

What Do the Adrenal Glands Do?

Your adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and they are part of the endocrine system (which manages hormones). Their job? To regulate your stress hormones, primarily adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline’s job is to give us increased focus and stamina to deal with sudden situations that require our full attention and effort. Think fight or flight response.

Cortisol’s job is to convert protein into energy, to give us that extra boost for the situation at hand. It does this by converting our body’s stored sugar, glycogen, which fuels and supports the adrenaline response. The adrenal glands also play a role in balancing blood sugar and maintaing the correct electrolyte balance of salt/water for proper cellular function.

Significant and/or prolonged stress on the adrenal glands causes them to continuously release adrenaline and cortisol. This happens when we consistently push ourselves to work past the point of fatigue, when we try to cash in on our body’s “extra” energy by using stimulants like caffeine and sugar, when we deal with acute or recurring illnesses, when we experience a string of stressful situations (pregnancy/birth, loss of loved ones, moving, financial strain, job loss, natural disasters, etc.), when we fail to heed our body’s signals that it is worn out and needs some TLC.

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Do you depend on stimulants to get through the day?
Image by oimax

Defining Adrenal Fatigue

To try to cope with these stressors and strains on the body, our adrenal glands faithfully pump out extra energy to us. Think of it like a bank account, with a sizeable amount of money set aside for emergency savings. Each time you run into a minor financial difficulty, however (a blown tire, extra groceries because you went over budget, a large cell phone bill), you dip in just a little.

The fund wasn’t intended to see you through the constant stream of regular, daily life. Without being added to or replenished, it will only sustain these constant withdrawals for so long. When your husband suddenly loses his job in a down economy, or when tragedy strikes and you become seriously ill without insurance, suddenly that money is gone and unable to cover the circumstances it was intended for.

Simply put, adrenal fatigue occurs when our adrenal glands have been drained through constant “withdrawals”, without being replenished. They become depleted, empty, and unable to help us when we need them most.

Why is adrenal fatigue becoming so prevalent? I liked many of the explanations in this post of the reasons why adrenal fatigue develops. To this list I would also add uncontrollable stressful situations (illness, loss, etc.), and long-term undiagnosed food allergies or sensitivities (often to the very foods that you most love and crave).

Levels of Fatigue

Not all cases of adrenal fatigue are equal. You can deplete your adrenals mildy, causing some signs and symptoms that slow you down a little, but nothing that cannot be recovered through some lifestyle changes.

More prolonged depletion can result in moderate adrenal fatigue, which often consists of more serious and  debilitating symptoms including extreme fatigue, depression, frequent illnesses, an inability to cope with stressful situations, hormone imbalance and more. Recovery is certainly possible, but it will take longer, and require more purposeful changes and treatments.

Severe adrenal fatigue (sometimes called adrenal exhaustion) is when they adrenals reach the point where they are barely functioning at all. For many, this means that they can hardly get out of bed or make it through the day. Everything takes herculean efforts and recovery can take many years and much, much effort, usually with the help of a trained specialist (like a naturopathic doctor).

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Craving salt is a common symptom
Image by D. Sharon Pruitt

Do I Have Adrenal Fatigue?

Here are some common symtoms of adrenal fatigue:

  • Frequent, often unexplainable fatigue
  • Feeling tired despite sufficient hours of sleep/ difficulty feeling awake in the morning
  • Insomnia (many feel very alert or find that their heart pounds even when they are tired and lying down)
  • Weight gain, especially around the middle
  • Depression and/or irritability
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Reliance on stimulants like caffeine
  • Cravings for carbohydrates or sugars
  • Cravings for salt
  • Low immune function and slow recovery from illness, injury or stress
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Lightheadedness and low-blood pressure
  • Brain fog, or having trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • For women, increased PMS symptoms or cycle irregularities

Sadly, adrenal fatigue is not recognized by most conventional medical doctors. So how do you know if you truly have adrenal fatigue? A good naturopathic doctor will usually be able to do more specific tests and assessing to determine whether you do have some level of adrenal depletion.

Another way to learn more is through some of the excellent books out on the topic. I don’t always like to rely on self-diagnosis, but if you can’t afford to see an alternative specialist or don’t have access to one in your area, these books have extensive questionnaires (much more in depth than my list of symptoms above) that will help you to not only determine if this is what you are dealing with, but will also help you to determine the severity of your condition. I used the questionnaires in both Tired of Being Tired and Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome to reach a very similar diagnosis of moderate adrenal fatigue.

It is important to note that not everyone who has these symptoms has adrenal fatigue. Much as it is becoming more common, each person and each body is different, and sometimes symptoms can be the result of simple lifestyle choices or they could also be an indicator of other, more serious illness. If you suspect something is wrong, it is always best to see a health practitioner who can perform proper diagnostic tests rather than simply self-treating.

In the second post on adrenal fatigue (coming later this week), I will address some ways to treat it and give you some resources as well!

Does anyone else have experience dealing with adrenal fatigue?

Top image by Sophia Louise

Disclaimer: I am not a certified medical professional of any kind and am not qualified to give you medical advice, to diagnose any illness or prescribe treatment. My goal is to help to educate and inspire you to take responsibility for your own family’s health and make informed choices of your own, not to consult you on medical treatment.

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  1. Wow, I think I have adrenal fatigue for sure – I have practically every symptom listed! Do you think the GAPS Diet will heal this??

    1. @Beth, I don’t know that the GAPS diet will heal it, but I think that it will definitely make a big difference. There are other important factors, like reducing stress, improving and increasing sleep, balancing blood sugar, etc. But the GAPS removes the major food allergens (wheat, grains in general, sugar, corn, soy, etc.) as well as improves digestion and nutrient absorption, and deals with any Candida yeast issues, which is all very helpful!

  2. Excellent article. I’ve read the book, Adrenal Fatigue 21st Century Stress Syndrome, and highly recommend it. Not only does it explain what it it, but it talks about HOW to reverse it, with or without a doctor’s help. (Most MD’s do not recognize this disorder.)
    Remember, the body is interconnected. You cannot affect one system without affecting others.
    And diet is key to recovery–the GAPS diet will likely work wonders, since it does not allow sugars or caffeine and refined carbs.

  3. I have it moderate to severe. My Dr has put me on a full regimine of supplements and other medications and it is amazing how much better I am begining to feel.

    SOme things I have learned are that if you really have adrenal fatigue, no matter what the severity is, a life style change is necessary. Instead of saying “yes”, “no” needs to be the word. The husband also needs to be on the same game plan. If he’s not, it is so much harder to get better. When I was first diagnosed, the Dr said that he could prescribe all the supplements in the world, but the 2 things that would be key to my recovery would be reducing the stress (lifestyle change) and sleep. That means going to be between 9:30-10 every night and not getting up until 7-9 am. At this point I am getting 10 hours of sleep every night and actually sleeping all of them.

    I highly recommend searching for a Dr to get a complete diagnoses. There are many different causes to the adrenal fatigue and it helps treatment to know which levels are low and whether or not the thyroid is involved. They usually are both low and both will need to be treated.

    1. @Sheri,
      I hear ya on the stress part and having your husband on baord. Mine is on board with the food changes we’ve made, but doesn’t seem to understand how his behavior adds to my stress and keeps me spinning my wheels in regard to the overall improvement. I do extra work to prepare real, whole food, so that adds to my depletion, but the food should be aiding in recovery. It can’t if the stress is still high!

  4. The symptom list is very similar to thyroid issues. Makes me wonder if I have adrenal fatigue instead of hypothyroidism – or both! I was diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidsm, but the doctor said my levels were barely low and most people wouldn’t be showing symptoms. But because I was, they’d treat me. Makes me glad that I’m no longer on synthetic thyroid hormones and instead I’m trying to focus on healthy eating to get my levels where they should be. My guess is, the healthy eating will help the adrenal fatigue too!

    Looking forward to how to the next part of this!

  5. This is a tough subject. I suffer from adrenal exhaustion and hypothyroidism. When I first saw my holistic physician he began treatment for my adrenals and we were unaware of a thyroid issue. He later explained; when treating these issues it is much like an onion, as one symptom gets better a layer is peeled away and another is exposed. He also informed me that all the treatment in the world, for my thyroid, would all be for not if we did not treat the adrenals.

    Diet can play a huge role in the amount of time it takes to see results. After knowing that my life could improve greatly I did not eat anything he told me not to. He recommended no peanuts, no sugar, no wheat, no corn, and no dairy. Many people asked me how I survived. I do not require a huge selection in food choices and just ate the same things when I figured it out. I eat a lot of eggs, yogurt (not considered a dairy), brown rice, sweet potatoes, vegetables, rice chips, chicken wings (if we are eating out), oatmeal, apples, some meat, etc.
    My first treatment was about 4 years ago and I was ultra strict for 2 years. One of the “side effects” we discovered was NO joint pain. We believe that (if I would go to a regular MD) I would have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I have a huge pain tolerance and therefore will not allow someone to label me. While eating the above listed foods I have no joint pain. This has been true over the last two years when I “cheat” and eat a food on my NO list.
    I hope this helps someone.

  6. thank you for writing these posts! i’ve recently started to think i might have mild to moderate adrenal fatigue (or, as the previous poster said, possibly hypothyroidism). i have many of the symptoms and so i scheduled an appointment for a physical. we can’t afford a naturopath, so if there’s nothing “technically” wrong with me according to the MD, i’ll be very interested in the resources and ways to treat adrenal fatigue!

  7. I have adrenal fatigue, which has turned into chronic fatigue syndrome and fibro. However with lifestyle changes, continuing the diet changes I had already made, more sleep, reducing stress, some supplements things are beginning to get better. Its been one year since making the changes and such and I am just feeling the effects of these changes beginning. I’ve also learned in the last few months just how important it is to not only eat well and take certain supplements but also the rest and stress reducing. This has been the biggest help and maybe why I am suddenly making more improvements.

    1. @Nola, My SIL has chronic fatigue and whenever she starts trying to add more to her plate (in rare times when she’s feeling better), she inevitably does worse again. Her naturopath always tells her that she needs to rest and keep stress low, even when she has good days or weeks, and that it is crucial to her recovery to continue to rest over a long period of time. So perhaps. I’m glad that you’re beginning to see some changes, Nola! It’s been a long road for you, I know. 🙂

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,

        I’m curious to know if your SIL has a family and children/home/husband etc to look after…just because I am interested in knowing how other women with CFS (or any long term chronic issue) deal with having children and keeping up with things etc…maybe this is in a book somewhere…how mothers cope with chronic illness…anyone know of a book like that? I think that for me its hard with no family around and a church family that is unable/unwilling to understand…but in the end I have to find ways to cope on my own and have always been interested in seeing how other women do it to see if there is anything I can glean from that.

        1. @Nola, She does have a husband and two young children (just a bit younger than yours). If you want to connect with her, email me and I can hook you up. 🙂 I think that one of the main ways she copes is by simply lowering her standards for what she expects to get done, has her husband pitch in a lot, and she just doesn’t really take on outside things. But I’m sure she would have tips and ideas to share with you beyond that!

  8. Years ago I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (which I mostly ignored due to the fact that I had other health issues that were very pressing and hard enough to get help with) As I read you post I am wondering are chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue possibly the same thing? Can they be treated the same way? What is the end result if I continue to just ignore it?

    1. @Amber, I was told by my doctor that women that experience CFS and leave it untreated are more prone to things like cancer…it doesn’t mean you WILL get it but the odds are higher.

      Also…I think I’ve had CFS for years but its gotten worse…so I think ignoring it would have made it get worse and worse…and at advanced stages its really not possible to be a good wife or mother or homemaker…it has really taken a toll on my family,

      From what I have been told CFS comes from advanced adrenal fatigue.

    2. @Amber, Researchers have actually never been able to pin down a single definitive cause for CFS; instead, they have a long list of possible causes. Significant stress is one of them, as are certain viruses, autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory conditions. One of the most commonly blamed viruses, Epstein-Barr, is also associated with certain cancers, which may be the link Nola’s doctor was referring to.

      1. Thanks ladies. In addition to CF I have PCOS, with that came insulin resistance, which has now turned into diabetes. I also have chronic pancritias. (A nasty bout of gallstones blocking my liver and pancreas caused this 6 years ago, almost killing me.)
        I do live a very busy, demanding, and stressful life. Which of course takes a hard toll on me at home. I have been determined in the last few years to just push through this exhaustion, but it has become to much to push through recently. Years ago I was feeling the way I am today and took a long rest. Stopped working, did not have children at the time. But all that has changed.
        I am curious, do any of you home school? It has been a huge consideration in our home, and I am trying to figure out if it will be a problem with my health.
        Thanks again ladies!

        1. @Amber, I am considering homeschooling, right now my oldest I am sort of homeschooling…meaning she is kindergarten age so we do do some “school” stuff but its fairly low key…the only reason I am doing it so young is that she seems to need that. We mainly do a lot of reading.
          The decision to homeschool long term will definately depend on my health. We have considered not homeschooling because of my health. We are taking it one year at a time and seeing how it goes. The same thing goes for other big decisions like having more kids. Its hard for me but I am doing what I can to improve my health and take it one step at a time from there.

        2. I have adrenal fatigue and thyroid and hormonal issues. I homeschooled all three of my children until last January when I put my 10 year old in school for the first time. I think whether or not it will work for you depends on a lot of things. It is important to have a lot of outside support. My husband works a lot of hours and he was really my only support. That is the biggest reason I put my oldest in school. Also, I think a lot of it depends on the personality of your children and your educational philosophy. My oldest daughter, especially, is very self-motivated as long as she is choosing what she learns. She loves to make things and study things and she reads constantly. She taught herself to read and was reading books by age four. I didn’t need to do a lot of structured and planned schoolwork with her. She learned much of what she needed to learn on her own. That said, she is also a very intense, high need child and it took A LOT of energy for me to be with her almost 24/7. It you have children who are very high need and you have little outside support, or if you are planning on schooling at home, meaning you sit at the table for a certain number of hours each day and plan everything you want your children to learn or you follow a strict curriculum, then, I wouldn’t recommend homeschooling. If you have fairly laid back, self motivated children and you can trust them to learn what they need to know to an extent, homeschooling might work very well for you.

        3. @Amber, I have adrenal fatigue and thyroid and hormonal issues. I homeschooled all three of my children until last January when I put my 10 year old in school for the first time. I think whether or not it will work for you depends on a lot of things. It is important to have a lot of outside support. My husband works a lot of hours and he was really my only support. That is the biggest reason I put my oldest in school. Also, I think a lot of it depends on the personality of your children and your educational philosophy. My oldest daughter, especially, is very self-motivated as long as she is choosing what she learns. She loves to make things and study things and she reads constantly. She taught herself to read and was reading books by age four. I didn’t need to do a lot of structured and planned schoolwork with her. She learned much of what she needed to learn on her own. That said, she is also a very intense, high need child and it took A LOT of energy for me to be with her almost 24/7. It you have children who are very high need and you have little outside support, or if you are planning on schooling at home, meaning you sit at the table for a certain number of hours each day and plan everything you want your children to learn or you follow a strict curriculum, then, I wouldn’t recommend homeschooling. If you have fairly laid back, self motivated children and you can trust them to learn what they need to know to an extent, homeschooling might work very well for you.

    1. @Susan Alexander, I have always found them through referrals. I ask around to those I know who are also interested in alternative health, to my midwives, at health food stores, or even a chiropractor, etc. Otherwise you can often just find them by searching for “naturopath vancouver” (or wherever you live) or often in the yellow pages.

  9. Interesting. My 5-year old was diagnosed with congenital adrenal hyperplasia shortly after birth. She’s tested positive for it twice and negative for it twice. Her adrenal glands, per docs, just don’t work, so they’ve been shut off, and steroids are working in their place for her. I strongly dislike that she’s on steroids, but really don’t see alternatives.

    1. @monique, That sounds like a very different condition than any sort of adrenal fatigue. Have her adrenals ever worked properly, or have they been entirely deficient since birth? I have never heard of that condition before, but it sounds like something that would be treated in a unique way. I can understand that you dislike having her on steroids. Have you seen any alternative practitioners to inquire about other options? It sounds very serious to me, so I would definitely look into the options that are available, but I would do so very carefully.

  10. Thanks for the helpful article, Stephanie! I really think my husband might have this. Its no wonder though–finishing a PhD thesis, moving back across the world, and then trying to find a job, all with a wife and two small kids! That’s a lot of stress, but he has been way more tired than normal and I’ve been starting to worry about him. I’m definitely going to check out those books that you mentioned.

  11. Thank you so much for this…. I’ve been pretty sure for a while that I have this (mild to moderate). I don’t have health insurance, and can’t afford a naturopath, so I have to make do without any tests and confirmation, or doctors advice. I cut sugar out of my diet last week, now I’m slowly transitioning to grain-free, so we’ll see what happens, I guess. Can’t wait for your next post on the subject!

  12. I was recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and mild hypothyroidism after years of unexplained weight gain, irregular cycles, fatigue and estrogen dominance. I finally found a great doctor who ordered a saliva test (Cortisol, Progesterone, Estrogen, Testosterone, and others). My cortisol levels and Progesterone levels were so low and my TSH was elevated. It’s hard to figure out what came first (the egg or the chicken). MY doctor is super big on gut health and feels like in my case, my adrenal fatigue came from years of gluten sensitivity. This caused all my hormones to go crazy. I immediately went GF and did a candida cleanse, parasite cleanse and am now on Armour Thyroid as well as an Adrenal Cortex support. Because my Progesterone levels were so low I am also using a compounded progesterone cream. All of this is not ideal, but the long term goal is to heal my endocrine system and slowly get off all meds. If medication is necessary, I recommend pushing for the compounded formulas to help support the adrenals and thyroid.

    From my research, if you are treating the thyroid or adrenal glands, but are not supporting the other, eventually you will began to have issues with the non-supported gland.

    There are several great companies who sell Adrenal Support using the Adrenal Cortex from New Zealand sheep. This is the same concept of the Armour Thyroid medicine, which uses pig glandular to treat the thyroid. My experience with Adrenal Cortex has been great. I take it at Bfast and Lunch and it helps me get through the extreme exhaustion by allowing my adrenal glands to “take a vacation and relax on the beach in Mexico” according to my doctor.

    Thanks for the informing article!

  13. Adrenal fatigue is also mentioned in Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. I have this one and the 21st Century Stress Syndrome one too. I need to re-read the second one. We made lots of dietary changes, including dairy cows and hens for eggs, but that added more work for me, so I think my progress has been slow. We also live in a small town that doesn’t really care about organic or healthy, so getting good quality food is a challenge.

    My research showed that the adrenal glands are responsible for over 50 hormones, and that is why so many things are affected when they are overworked.

    My chiropractor is the one that suspected I had it severely and got me started on research and lifestyle changes. When I asked him why doctors don’t diagnose this (I had a sleep study two months prior to his revelation and no diagnosis was made) he replied that since there isn’t an expensive drug to treat it, it’s not recognized by the medical profession!

    It really is a multifaceted condition and unique to each person. For as severe as I’ve got it, I have a very healthy immune system. I hardly ever get colds and don’t think I’ve ever had the flu. I do (did) have seasonal allergies though, and that should go away as my adrenals heal.

    Stephanie-I have some other info you might want to share in an upcoming post, but it’s a site that sells supplements, so would want you to see if before posting it.

  14. Stephanie,
    I struggled with most all of these symptoms for several months (maybe years, I don’t even remember I was so tired). I self-diagnosed adrenal fatigue and made severe dietary changes and supplements. Things weren’t getting better as fast as I hoped, so I asked around and found a great Naturopathic doctor. She did suspect some adrenal fatigue, but I also had a severe case of anemia. As soon as I began to treat that, I felt better instantly.
    So, like you say, sometimes the symptoms can be something else.

  15. Stephanie you are amazing, thank you for the detailed research. I have been dealing with these symptoms and severe PMS for years now. I am just starting to put two and two together. I have read a lot on AF but find it hard to follow and get to the bottom line. Your posts are to the point and informative. Thank you! Now go get some rest;).

  16. Thank you for bringing this info to my attention. I am looking for a naturopath to run various tests on me. I’m 46, married and have 2 children. My 12 yr old son is mild asthmatic, allergic and has mid dyslexia. My 8 yr old daughter has moderate autism. I’m betting I am dealing with this on top of hypo-thyroidism, etc. Looking forward to reading more from your research 🙂

  17. Rhodiola Rosea is an herb that anyone who has or thinks they may have any level of adrenal fatigue should give a try. It has done wonders for me. Look it up.

  18. I have felt run down for several yrs. Dad passed away in June ’06, Mom came to live with us. All went well for a couple of yrs. then reality set in. I was tired all the time and felt tied down because my Mom didn’t want to be alone. Physically she was capable of being alone but had some fear issues.
    Previous to this hubby and I had a few yrs of empty nest & enjoyed our freedom. Now, 2011, we just moved out of state into a much smaller home, Mom fell, broke hip, during the 2nd month here, and I am very very tied down now. Hubby and I aren’t as close as we used to be even though he loves my Mom & wanted her to come live with us.
    Our new little home has proven to need several fixes. Hubby has had so many problems with the simplest of repairs, normally he can run right thru them. I just had some major dental work too.
    It is just so stressful, we are tired all the time, I know all of this is affecting my and hubby’s health. It scares us to think what is happening inside our bodies because of all this ‘stuff’ in our lives. I maintain my Mom’s Dr. appts., drug scripts, her finances, and anything else she needs. I thank God Dad had all paperwork and their finances in order before he passed away. I also am responsible for our personal finances, running our business, and paying all our bills on time, & we have no health insurance. I could go on and on but I’m already tired just looking at all the jobs I attend to in this household. shoooooeeeeee!!!! I think I am a good canidate for burn out.
    I do stay discouraged a lot, I fight back tears often, and I don’t sleep good at all.
    I appreciate your article on adrenal fatigue, it makes sense!
    Thank you for listening, I don’t have much of an ear around her to talk to, I pretty much keep it all too my self. I don’t like to burden others with my woes, so this is my venting. Again thanks for listening. I’ll be ok when? ??????????????????????????????????????? these storms calm down!!!!

  19. I could have written this article!!! I am a super driven overachiever who has been sitting on the couch for 7 days now. OK, I have snuck off for a few hours a day to keep the house picked up and to organize the basement I do admit. I got into a fight tonight on Christmas Eve because I snuck down to the basement to change the filter on the air system. Talk about being a workaholic. Adrenal Fatigue got soooo incredibly bad about 7 days ago that I had MAJOR anxiety/ Panick Attacks all night long and couldn’t turn it off and couldn’t sleep. During the days it was sooo terrible that just having my husband run out the door with my daughter in a slight hurry made my adrenals in my back ache and forced me to sit down. I couldn’t take any teeny tiny form of stress. 7 days later, I’m feeling much better. However, I’m planning on letting my children be responsible for getting all their homeschooling work done by themselves and I have to back off from all the hours I put into that each day. My husband bought me frozen food for lunches. Now I’m planning on having a housekeeper come once a week. I’m just very idealistic and want everything in my life to be so perfect. I work myself to death. So, me and the couch are going to be buddies for all of 2012 as I get back into balance. I’m taking all of James L. Wilson’s Adrenal Supplements. I’m also reading this Christian book called A More Excellent Way to Be in Health where it talks about that Adrenal Fatigue is caused by my unbiblical ways of life like having fear and being too driven. My friend has been almost cured in 3 weeks after reading this book. My friend said this book healed her because the root of the problem is an attack by the enemy and also emotional sins. We need to claim God’s promises by memorizing His Word and not fearing and not being so terribly driven. Something like that anyway. I just started the book. WOW!!!! I’ve been SOOOOOO incredibly happy these last 7 days. I’m so calm and relaxed and I have NOTHING to do yet somehow everything is getting done that really needs to be. I am so peaceful and happy. However, we did stop homeschooling the last 7 days. I never realized I would feel so incredibly wonderful doing nothing and accomplishing nothing or almost nothing because the house is still VERY clean. I want to always feel this nontense and nonstressed and just relaxed. Thank you for letting me share.

    1. Your post is two years old.But it intrigued me because I too know that the enemy is attacking me with my adrenal fatigue, he is holding me back from something great!Did you stay healthy,just wondering.I’ve also had anxiety majority of my life:(

  20. Great post! I’ve done quite a bit of reading about adrenal fatigue myself. I found Marcelle Pick’s books, “Are You Tired and Wired?” and “The Core Balance Diet”, particularly helpful and informative. She is the co-founder of Women to Women, a clinic in Yarmouth, Maine that does a lot of work helping women with adrenal fatigue and imbalance.

  21. Hi,
    I am curious on your thoughts. I have a client who is on medicine for narcolepsy because she sleeps way too long and too much.
    She has gained weight, always stressed, acne, etc.
    She started an elimination diet last week of wheat, dairy and sugar. Wheat being the biggest one since she pretty much was down to zero on the other two.
    I recognize that when one does a diet like this, one is going to experience fatigue due to food withdrawals and detoxing. However, her fatigue is triple the normal person and all she wants to do it sleep.
    I am wondering if she has adrenal fatigue and should recommend she get tested.
    I recognize you are not a medical person, just getting different opinions.

    PS – love your blog

    1. You’re right, I’m really not sure what to suggest. It could be related to adrenal fatigue, but that could absolutely also be detoxing symptoms, thyroid related, hormone imbalance, etc. It’s just so hard to even have an idea without knowing much more about her medical history, but I wouldn’t’ want to even attempt to “diagnosis”. She should really see a naturopathic doctor, if possible, because they’ll do a much better just of pinpointing her symptoms.

  22. I haven’t officially been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, but I know that’s what I have. Two years ago I started having horrible, disabling panic attacks (vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hot and cold flashes, lightheadedness, etc). I ended up in the ER twice because the first night when the panic attacks started they didn’t diagnose me with anything, they just thought I was dehydrated – which sounded nuts since it was an unusually mild week in August with temps in the 70s. So the second night in the ER they gave me Xanax and said something about stress. We left for vacation the following week and I took the Xanax every night to help me calm down and fall asleep. Well, as the months went on I knew something else was going on. The panic attacks were only happening at night or when I was more physically active. I switched doctors (because mine wasn’t listening to me) and requested testing for everything I could think of that was in my family and could be attributing to the symptoms – hyperthyroid, pheocromocytoma (a rare adrenal tumor that my father had), stress tests. You name it, I had it checked. I then came across adrenal fatigue about 18 months ago while looking up stress and panic attacks online. I went to my regular doctor to have my cortisol checked because I was convinced that I had adrenal fatigue. Well, he said my cortisol level was fine ( he only checked the morning level) and I went on my way thinking I was just overly stressing myself and having panic attacks. So fast forward to this August. I had been feeling better for about March 2012. I had even started running and completed four 5K runs. We were on vacation and I became extremely stressed about some things that happened during our vacation. Like ‘old me’ I held onto the stress for weeks after vacation ended. Then a few weeks later the horrible panic attacks returned, set off by a 30 minute run that morning and painting a section of my living room wall. So I then try to rest and ignore the horrible physical symptoms I am experiencing again. I keep running and complete a 6.5 mile run. The next day the panic attacks and symptoms feel awful. I am then completely wiped out for the next week. I did another 5K a few weeks later and that was it. I couldn’t do anything. I found a naturopathic doctor and when I went to see her one of the things she said was that I had adrenal fatigue. I couldn’t believe it! I ACTUALLY had the thing I KNEW I had a year and a half ago. What was most damaging about being misdiagnosed with Anxiety/Panic Attacks is that I wasn’t resting when I felt off. I was trying to push through it and ignore the symptoms. I am SO very thankful to now know what is going on with me. It has truly been an answer to prayer. If I can tell anyone anything, it’s that YOU KNOW YOUR BODY! I knew something else was going on but sometimes it’s hard when the doctors keep telling you you’re perfectly healthy. And definitely find a good naturopathic/homeopathic doctor to have in addition to a regular MD. Two years later, and I am finally on my way to healing. 🙂

    1. So what do you do to feel better after figuring out it was adrenal fatigue? I have the same things going on but have always been told it was an anxiety disorder.

  23. Hi Stephanie, I googled adrenal fatigue and got your wonderful article. I’m also a lover of Jesus and and committed to my family and husband. I’ve also had an interest in writing a money making blog. Can you or others who see my address email me and let me know how to start?? Thanks again from Siobhain who’s going to get 10 hrs of sleep tonight to catch up!

  24. Hello, I just came across this article after doing a search and I can tell you 100% Adrenal Depletion is real… I suffer from this and am getting help finally but Doctors continually say for over three years that all my bloodwork is fine. My herbalist is the only one who has been able to help me and could say just by listening to me – Oh yeah I know what’s wrong with you. I plan to start a blog on my road to recovery as soon as I have a bit more time and more natural energy.

  25. Hello Im Joe and having the same experiences.I have a stressful relationship with a partner my adrenals crashed about 4 weeks ago, I am still in bed. There are days I feel great then I crash really hard,my doc says I may have to take the meds for life, if they Dont recover.Does anyone know what I can take to help this sickness vitamins foods etc..please help I am 37 years old its holding me back for life.

  26. Love it. Adrenal fatigue is a huge deal. I think stress is like this.. subtle, unknown, and like you said under-recognized phenomenon, killing people’s performance and happiness throughout the day.

  27. Spot on.

    Adrenal fatigue can hit *anyone*. I’m seventeen.

    I had the west nile virus when I was seven years old –that knocked me out for a good nine months. My body has never really been the same since. My family has a large history of auto-immune disorders as well, and those two things, coupled with a stress-packed childhood ruined my adrenals, I think.

    I have always had: sensitivity to sunlight (being exposed very long makes me nauseous), terrible joint pain, endless fatigue, that bit of weight gain around the middle (not anything substantial, I’m 5’1″, and weighed at my highest 118lbs. But this was highly frustrating, as I was very actively pursuing ballet, and I couldn’t get rid of those extra ten pounds for anything, it seemed), and a host of other random things.
    I am so grateful that Jesus gave me the mom He did; she has tenaciously researched my every symptom, and prayed me through so much. About a month ago, — WHAM — the panic attacks hit me with a vengeance. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Absolutely vile. They start every night around 6 pm, and stretch on until I can somehow sleep. The only thing that helps is reading articles like this, to remind myself that I am not losing my mind, but am, in fact, struggling to heal an organ (Truth does indeed set one free!). People who suggest things like, “thing positively, manage your fears, reason them away”, have no experience with AF. You can’t reason away a physical disease.

    For any who have struggled with panic attacks, I would strongly suggest looking up STTM (Stop the Thyroid Madness). The resources there helped me immensely; they also have connections to doctors who will actually listen to you –not just refer you to a psychiatrist.

    Each day is a journey of pressing in to Jesus, and waiting on Him, and trusting Him when my body tells me that I’m dying, and nothing will ever change. Thanks so much for writing this! Resources like this are critical. I’m not sure where I’d be right now if I hadn’t discovered things like it.

  28. This is what I think I have. Some days I feel like I am barely hanging on, and am a slave to it. I don’t feel normal, and I never make plans because I don’t have any energy. Great article on what it is, would love to see what is recommended to help combat it. I have some ideas as I just consulted with a good Dr.

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