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Overcoming Stress and Exhaustion

Posted Jan 07 2009 4:41pm
By Dr. Christine Gonzalez (PharmD, CHC)

I used to think that feeling stressed and exhausted was just part of being a career woman and maybe getting older. I would often pass off those annoying eye twitches and that tired but wired feeling as normal or at least try and convince myself that they weren’t that bad. It wasn’t until I learned about a syndrome called adrenal fatigue back in 2007 that I began to think otherwise. The interesting thing is that I never learned about this in my prepharmacy or pharmacy education. But as I am realizing time and time again, there is still so much more to learn.

The syndrome of adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, with fatigue being the hallmark symptom. Other symptoms include low blood pressure, low blood sugar, heart palpitations, sensitivity to light, cravings for salts or sweets, intolerance to alcohol, chronic infections, tendency to startle easily, low stamina for stress, or easily irritated. While adrenal fatigue is largely unrecognized by the conventional medical community, some experts estimate that up to 80% of American adults suffer some degree of adrenal fatigue in their lifetime. When I started to recognize these symptoms and the effect they were having on my happiness and well-being, I decided it was time to take better care of my adrenals.

The first step was honestly addressing the sources of stress in my life (definitely easier said than done). For me, this involved determining the activities, environments, and people that were not positive for me and taking active steps to reduce my exposure to those that were not. Next was making sleep a top priority. I am even guilty of underestimating the value of a good night’s rest or even a quality nap when the day allows for it. Other measures to nourish my adrenals included getting an adequate amount of exercise that was invigorating but not overstrenuous, eating the best quality food, and reducing stimulants. Take it from me, feeling stressed and exhausted all the time is certainly not the path the true to wellness. If you want to learn more about adrenal fatigue, please read our upcoming feature article on this subject, to be released on Thursday on
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