A debate rages right now in our medical community. Alternative medicine diagnoses and treats adrenal fatigue as a medical condition, while western doctors say the condition doesn’t exist. For the people suffering the symptoms, it is undeniable. They need help.
Adrenal Fatigue Wreaks Havoc in the Body
The theory behind adrenal fatigue is that living in a constant state of stress, in fight or flight mode, exhausts the adrenals which produce cortisol. After an extended period of high stress, they no longer produce the right amounts of this critical hormone. The result is crippling fatigue, brain fog, and a host of other symptoms.
When Doctors Won’t Listen
I suffered from adrenal fatigue after years in a traumatic relationship and household. Eventually, my ability to handle stress eroded until I was constantly exhausted. I had never heard of adrenal fatigue, but suddenly the simplest tasks drained me. I couldn’t concentrate and had digestion problems. Western doctors told me that I had IBS and prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety. I felt frustrated but refused to give up and sought out alternative practitioners.
Take Your Power Back
In time I found a functional medicine practitioner and an acupuncturist, women who recognized my symptoms. I was diagnosed with a high level of adrenal fatigue and SIBO. Together we made a plan and they assisted me to heal over the next three years.
If you have the common symptoms of this stress syndrome: fatigue, not restful sleep, anxiety, depression or digestion problems, don’t give up after one visit to your doctor. Find someone who listens and who will work with your body to recover.
Below are ten tips to empower you on your journey to self-healing:
1. Contact a professional who understands Adrenal Fatigue, thyroid conditions, hormones, and how they affect your body. Functional medicine practitioners and Chinese medicine practitioners often have an understanding of how to test for adrenal fatigue and how to treat it
2. Manage the stress in your daily life. The major reason adrenal fatigue occurs is consistent high-stress levels. Take stock of your life, what can be removed to make things simpler? Try to decrease the time you spend in situations that cause high stress. Take a sabbatical if you need to because your well-being is crucial.
3. Regular acupuncture treatments. I went once a week for two years after my diagnosis. This eastern healing technique rejuvenates your system when your energy is low. Whether you believe in the underlying theory of qi and energy meridians or not, you leave sessions rested and revived.
4. Get regular deep sleep, at least eight to ten hours and consistent daily exercise. Avoid sugar, caffeine, and technology in the hours before sleep. Yoga is especially therapeutic for adrenal fatigue. It’s a kind of active meditation that can center you and kick your parasympathetic nervous system into gear.
5. Take naps. Adrenal fatigue took time to begin and it takes time to heal. Very early on in my treatment, my practitioners told me to take ten or twenty-minute naps when I was tired. I found those brief rests gave me a huge boost.
6. Meditate. If you are stressed, meditation is the best tool to come into the present moment, out of the past or future you are worrying about. Meditation is a simple antidote to our constant plugged-in state. You can start with simple breath meditation in small intervals and increase as you feel ready. This makes a huge difference in your mental state and reactions to stress.
7. Try adding some adaptogens into your routine. The beauty of these herbs is their ability to give your system whatever it needs, an energy boost or stress support. Rhodiola Rosea has a balancing and energizing effect and Ashwagandha is commonly recommended for vitality and lower stress levels. As with all herbs you need to test them and see how your body reacts before you decide if they are right for you.
8. Practice self-care. Take time for the things you find nourishing. Whether its spending time with friends, relaxing in nature or getting a massage you need to make regular time for your favorite activities. We rarely have time to enjoy what we cherish and simply be. Make yourself a priority.
9. Trust yourself. Going to speak to your doctor can be discouraging when they don’t understand your symptoms. But you know how you feel better than anyone. If they don’t listen, find another doctor. A specialist who hears you and agrees to treat your symptoms.
In the end, this dispute about the condition doesn’t matter. The symptoms exist and there are techniques to treat it. You simply need someone who listens to you and understands the body. Only we can navigate our path of healing back to the energy and vitality that is ours.