Are you the kind of person who races through life at a 100 miles an hour? Is your motto, “Plenty of time for rest in the grave”? Do caffeine and energy drinks fuel your waking hours? If so, you may be setting yourself up for a crash of epic proportions.
Many people today suffer from adrenal fatigue, a condition in which the body’s adrenal glands do not make sufficient hormones in response to stress. A huge fight with your spouse or a giant afternoon soda are both stressors to which your adrenal glands must respond. However, when you call on their services too frequently, as many Americans do, you risk causing adrenal fatigue.
We typically associate adrenal fatigue with chronic tiredness, but Type A people—those who are prone to impatience, aggression, ambition, and competitiveness—may be moving too fast to realize they suffer from adrenal fatigue.
Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue
- Feel exhausted often; Type A’s typically push through this
- Feel overwhelmed, constantly stressed out
- Crave sweets, salty foods, and caffeine or nicotine
- Crash around 3 or 4 p.m.
- Feel more awake and energetic in the evening
- Poor sleep patterns
- Difficulty waking in the morning
- Slow to recover from illness, injuries, wounds, or exercise
- Frequently sick
- Assailed by allergies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Lightheaded or blacking out momentarily when rising from a seated or reclining position
- Shaky, lightheaded, and/or irritable when going too long without food
The epic crash: when adrenal fatigue wins out
Sure, you can push through adrenal fatigue. Athletes do it routinely; overtraining often causes adrenal fatigue. That doesn’t change the fact that adrenal fatigue depletes your immune system, hormone function, and brain health. What the Type A person most fears losing is productivity, and nothing stops productivity like an adrenal crash.
Adrenal fatigue means that any major stressor—accident, major illness, divorce, death of a loved one—can cause an epic crash. The consequences of such a crash can include chronic fatigue, autoimmune illness, a harrowing transition into menopause, or some other chronic health disorder. Recovery can be a very long, slow road.
Lasting health requires major lifestyle changes. The most challenging thing for Type A patients with adrenal fatigue is that the moment they start feeling a little better, they crank up the pace, which puts them right back where they started. Although racing around frantically may feel productive, the truth is you can accomplish more, make fewer mistakes, and irritate fewer people when you operate with better adrenal health. You don’t have to sacrifice your competitive edge to act with more purpose, deliberation, and forethought, all hallmarks of a more relaxed, adrenal-friendly approach.
Overcoming adrenal fatigue is a multi-pronged approach that includes:
- Removing dietary stressors: sugars, caffeine, junk foods, excess carbs, and food intolerances
- Addressing any lingering health imbalances: hormonal, immune system, or gut
- Exercising regularly, but not over exercising
- Working with your practitioner to use customized nutritional therapy to support your adrenal health