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Taming the Adrenaline Beast


Published: January 5, 2017

Adrenaline During Withdrawal

When I go online and read the struggles that people  go through there is a common thread. Without a doubt, one of the most difficult parts of withdrawal is the adrenaline that often comes with it and the consequent sleep deprivation.

Excess adrenaline quite literally makes you feel like you are burning up inside, especially at night and sleep becomes impossible. 

The Dangers of Excess Adrenaline

Throughout my withdrawal I suffered with adrenaline problems. I couldn’t sleep for months on end and I felt like I was burning up inside. Soon after I successfully completed my slow taper I found that I could barely get out of bed and tests revealed that my adrenals were only creating very small amounts of the hormones that I needed for normal functioning. This was quite a problem for me because I needed to work to support myself.

My options were limited and I had to choose from

  1. Adrenal cell extracts and
  2. Supplementing with hydro-cortisone to support my adrenals

I really didn’t like either option but I needed to pay the rent so on the advice of two doctors whom I trusted, I chose option two. Now I have one more substance to taper from!

Supporting your Adrenals During Withdrawal

The really scary thing about withdrawal is that adrenal problems mimic many of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. Look at the list below

Characteristic Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

I have taken these symptoms from Dr Lam https://www.drlam.com/blog/75-signs-adrenal-fatigue-symptoms/1970/ and if you read them you will notice many symptoms that you may be experiencing at the moment.

  1. Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
  2. Wake up in the middle of the night for no reason
  3. Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
  4. Low Blood pressure consistently
  5. Low libido and lack of sex drive
  6. Low thyroid function, often despite thyroid medications
  7. Feeling of hypoglycemia though laboratory values are normal
  8. Depression, often unresolved after anti-depressant
  9. Endometriosis
  10. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  11. Uterine fibroids
  12. Fibrocystic breast disease
  13. Hair falling off for no reason
  14. Irritable under stress
  15. Anxiety
  16. Panic attacks
  17. Feeling ‘wired’ unable to relax
  18. Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
  19. Fogging thinking
  20. Inability to handle stress
  21. Waking up feeling tired in the morning after night’s sleep
  22. Feeling tired in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 pm
  23. Inability to take in simple carbohydrate
  24. Coffee needed to get going in the morning and throughout the day
  25. Coffee, tea or energy drinks triggering adrenaline rush and adrenal crashes
  26. Feeling tired between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, but resists going to bed
  27. Craving for fatty food and food high in protein
  28. Craving for salty food such as potato chips
  29. Dry skin more than usual
  30. Unexplained hair loss that is diffuse
  31. Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
  32. Chemical sensitivities to paint, fingernail polish, plastics
  33. Electromagnetic force sensitivity, including cell phone and computer monitors
  34. Delay food sensitivity, especially to diary and gluten
  35. Unable to get pregnant, requiring IVF
  36. Post partum fatigue and depression
  37. Recurrent miscarriages during first trimester
  38. Abdominal fat accumulation for no apparent reason
  39. Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
  40. Dysmenorrhea advancing to amenorrhea
  41. Premature Menopause
  42. Constipation for no apparent reason
  43. Joint pain of unknown origin
  44. Muscle mass loss
  45. Muscle pain of unknown reason
  46. Cold hands and feet
  47. Premature aging skin
  48. Inability to concentrate or focus
  49. Psoriasis of no known reason
  50. Gastritis despite normal gastroscopy
  51. Low back pain with no history of trauma and normal examination
  52. Dizziness for no known cause
  53. Fructose mal-absorption
  54. Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) chronically
  55. Numbness and tingling in extremities bilaterally
  56. Mouth sores recurrent
  57. Short of breath even though breathing is fine
  58. Presence of ovarian cysts
  59. Breast cancer associated with estrogen dominance
  60. Grave’s disease
  61. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  62. Legs that feel heavy at times
  63. Dark Circle under eyes that does not go away with rest
  64. Loss of healthy facial skin tone color
  65. Body feel tense all over and unable to relax
  66. Postural orthostatic tachycardia
  67. Irritable Bowl Syndrome, with more constipation then diarrhea
  68. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
  69. Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
  70. Systemic Candida that gets worse when under stress
  71. Electrolyte imbalance despite normal laboratory values
  72. Irregular Menstrual Cycle that “stops and go”
  73. Lyme Disease but unable to fully recover after medication or intolerance to drugs
  74. H Pylori Infection in the past and was told resolved but never feel the same since
  75. Heavy metal and mineral toxicity may mimic Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Supplements and Exercise

I couldn’t take the supplements that were recommended to heal my adrenals so I had to rely on two things.

  1. Diet
  2. Gentle Exercise

Diet

I eliminated all adrenal antagonists during withdrawal including, fruit before 10 am, coffee, take away or other junk foods and sugar and I went gluten and dairy free. I ate more adrenal friendly substances like salt, vegetables and limited amounts of low sugar fruits.

Salt

In the early days of my adrenal fatigue I managed to control the flow of adrenaline by using either Himalayan or Celtic salt in water. I still drink water with salt in it in the morning when I get up.

One time when I went on a group walk adrenaline flowed when I got home – there was no way that I was going to get any sleep. I remembered reading as passage in the book – Adrenal Fatigue – The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, James L Wilson ND called ‘To Salt or Not to Salt – There is No Question’ and I decided to try a small amount of salt in water – after a while I began to feel better so I tried a bit more and things continued to improve. I probably consumed around 1/2 a teaspoon that night but it worked – the adrenaline stopped!

If you use too much salt you risk fluid retention and some people feel sick trying it but I found that if I could manage the correct amount of salt for me that it was a life saver.

Gentle Exercise

Exercise was complicated for me – the time, intensity and duration of exercise is vital – the wrong time or two much exercise can cause an adrenal crash and set backs.

I tried bike riding

I looked and felt great, there were no hills to climb but this was early afternoon and when I got home, even after a short ride, my adrenals crashed.

I went walking – this seemed to be a much safer option for me because I usually went walking in the morning  but of course I could have done the same with the riding, early in the morning. I’ve walked with groups of people where I had no control over the length of the walk and I got myself into trouble so I chose to go alone most of the time. 

I walked in salt water knowing full well that not only was I absorbing much needed magnesium from the water, I was also earthing myself.

And my favorite and most helpful exercise was Adrenal Yoga – a DVD series that I bought from drlam.com I could do the adrenal yoga in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and I could do the first session on the first DVD right on my bed! It was awesome and it helped me recover quite quickly. I was able to control the adrenaline flow by doing the adrenal yoga a few times before bed and during the night but I had to make sure that I didn’t breathe too deeply.

Breathing

Our adrenals need oxygen to heal and that’s what Adrenal Yoga is designed to do – get oxygen to where it is needed.

Many of us breathe incorrectly from the top portion of our lungs but when we breathe from our diaphragms we can fill the entire lungs with oxygen. The yoga has us sit or lie in various positions so that the oxygen can go where it should. It is important to build the oxygen uptake slowly or guess what? Yep, you risk adrenal crash!

Withdrawal Puts Enormous Stress on Our Adrenals

If we want to recover from withdrawal and live a normal healthy life, it makes sense to look after our adrenals. We can’t take our bodies for granted – so eat the right foods, drink lots of water, exercise gently and learn how to breathe properly.