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
- Adrenal cell extracts and
- 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.
- Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
- Wake up in the middle of the night for no reason
- Heart palpitations at night or when stressed
- Low Blood pressure consistently
- Low libido and lack of sex drive
- Low thyroid function, often despite thyroid medications
- Feeling of hypoglycemia though laboratory values are normal
- Depression, often unresolved after anti-depressant
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Uterine fibroids
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Hair falling off for no reason
- Irritable under stress
- Panic attacks
- Feeling ‘wired’ unable to relax
- Feeling of adrenaline rushes in the body
- Fogging thinking
- Inability to handle stress
- Waking up feeling tired in the morning after night’s sleep
- Feeling tired in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 pm
- Inability to take in simple carbohydrate
- Coffee needed to get going in the morning and throughout the day
- Coffee, tea or energy drinks triggering adrenaline rush and adrenal crashes
- Feeling tired between 9:00 and 10:00 PM, but resists going to bed
- Craving for fatty food and food high in protein
- Craving for salty food such as potato chips
- Dry skin more than usual
- Unexplained hair loss that is diffuse
- Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
- Chemical sensitivities to paint, fingernail polish, plastics
- Electromagnetic force sensitivity, including cell phone and computer monitors
- Delay food sensitivity, especially to diary and gluten
- Unable to get pregnant, requiring IVF
- Post partum fatigue and depression
- Recurrent miscarriages during first trimester
- Abdominal fat accumulation for no apparent reason
- Temperature intolerance, especially to heat or sunlight
- Dysmenorrhea advancing to amenorrhea
- Premature Menopause
- Constipation for no apparent reason
- Joint pain of unknown origin
- Muscle mass loss
- Muscle pain of unknown reason
- Cold hands and feet
- Premature aging skin
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Psoriasis of no known reason
- Gastritis despite normal gastroscopy
- Low back pain with no history of trauma and normal examination
- Dizziness for no known cause
- Fructose mal-absorption
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) chronically
- Numbness and tingling in extremities bilaterally
- Mouth sores recurrent
- Short of breath even though breathing is fine
- Presence of ovarian cysts
- Breast cancer associated with estrogen dominance
- Grave’s disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Legs that feel heavy at times
- Dark Circle under eyes that does not go away with rest
- Loss of healthy facial skin tone color
- Body feel tense all over and unable to relax
- Postural orthostatic tachycardia
- Irritable Bowl Syndrome, with more constipation then diarrhea
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome unimproved with medicine
- Fibromyalgia unresolved after conventional help
- Systemic Candida that gets worse when under stress
- Electrolyte imbalance despite normal laboratory values
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle that “stops and go”
- Lyme Disease but unable to fully recover after medication or intolerance to drugs
- H Pylori Infection in the past and was told resolved but never feel the same since
- 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.
- Gentle Exercise
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.
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.
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.
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.