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by Dr.Dave on Sep 7, 2014
Today’s blog constitutes the third installment of my mini-series review of Integrative Psychiatry’s “4 Faces of Adrenal Fatigue” and each of the corresponding supplement bundles associated with these various stages of adrenal burnout. In the previous article, I addressed the high-flying “Wired for Sound” profile. Most people in that stage do not seek evaluation and treatment because, although stressed, they feel good and perform at high levels. Their stress hormones and chemicals are, for the time, able to keep up with peak demand. If, however, you are like most of us, you have taken such ample adrenal output for granted. And because you have not been regularly providing your body with the proper nutrients to continually replenish your adrenals, you have absolutely no reserves. You have now transitioned to the next zone of early-mid stage adrenal fatigue. This stage is hallmarked by mixed features of both fatigue and anxiousness.
At a physiological level, your over-active alarm system has been pumping out more and more cortisol until your bodily organs and tissues have become immune or resistant to ever-increasing levels of this all important stress hormone. This “cortisol resistance” is similar to the Insulin Resistance seen in Type 2 Diabetes.
When you’re under stress for a long time, cortisol, your main stress hormone, remains elevated. Your cortisol receptors become less sensitive, and require more and more cortisol to keep you going, until your overworked and underpaid adrenals can no longer keep up with the demands of your stressful life.
That’s when you experience adrenal fatigue and exhaustion.
This remarkably common progression is not at first intuitive. It is caused by the strain on your adrenals from a prolonged intense demand for cortisol. Because your adrenals cranked out high levels of cortisol for so many months or even years, they have started to wear out and will, in time, partially or totally burn out.
As your adrenal glands start to fail, you may find that some of your old symptoms will go away, others will worsen, and new ones will emerge.
As an aside, it is important to note that your adrenal glands – which consist of three main layers – do not fail all at once. In some people, the cortex (that section of your adrenals that manufactures cortisol, aldosterone, and certain sex hormones) fails first; in others, the medulla (that section of the adrenals that makes adrenaline and norepinephrine) collapses first.
This state of mixed adrenal output – high cortisol with low neurotransmitters or low cortisol with high neurotransmitters – can look the same superficially but require different treatments.
Because these two mixed states share so many symptoms – particularly the combination of fatigue with anxiousness bordering on agitation – it is particularly important for you, if experiencing this tandem, to have your cortisol and neurotransmitters tested.
Are there symptoms unique to these two very similar mixed states of adrenal burnout? In my clinical experience, the answer is yes: allergic and infected versus inflamed and in pain.
If you fall into a “Wired and Tired” profile and suffer with recurrent infections and frequent allergies, then you are more likely to be in a high cortisol/low neurotransmitter state. In that case, our bundle of adrenal support products below is your best choice.
The “Wired and Tired” – Allergic and Infected profile is associated with fatigue, anxiousness, tension, insomnia and increased frequency of infections and allergies. During this stage, your cortisol is elevated while your adrenaline and norepinephrine are low. This bundle focuses on lowering cortisol, restoring sleep, supporting neurotransmitter tone, improving your mood and general outlook, and bolstering your immune activity.
Stay tuned for next time when I will address the “Wired and Tired” – Inflamed and in Pain Profile. Until then..
Dr. David Scheiderer MD, MBA, DFAPA, is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Education for Integrative Psychiatry, Inc.
An accomplished clinician, educator, and lecturer, Dr. Dave has established himself as a key opinion leader in the fields of both mainstream psychiatry and functional medicine. Dissatisfied with the patient outcomes using only conventional treatments, he began treating his patients by addressing biological imbalances with lifestyle improvements, nutrition and nutraceuticals to get better outcomes. His integrative approach provided much improved results. Dr. Dave is passionate about helping the community he serves by personalizing treatments and educating the public about mental health and healthy aging. He has formulated several of our supplements and sat on the advisory board for many others, ensuring the products we carry are based on science and experience and have the best efficacy rates and highest ingredient quality available.