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January 16, 2017

7 Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue To Watch Out For

Fatigue is a symptom by itself for many afflictions, but it can be a syndrome too. Adrenal fatigue affects a worrying number of people all over the world. It’s an affliction that appears when the adrenal hormone is functioning beneath the normal, recommended levels. The most concerning part about this syndrome is just how subtly it behaves and how difficult to diagnose it is. It’s not as painfully vivid as depression, but it’s just enough to knock you off your everyday routine and put you in a sour mood. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue can be as subtle as the need to drink coffee to pull yourself in the morning.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

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The easiest definition for this syndrome is that it’s characterized by a perpetual weariness that doesn’t wear off through sleep. Behavior and general functions are still relatively normal, but it’s bothersome enough of an affliction to make you slightly uncomfortable.

But since this obviously doesn’t properly depict the details necessary to locate the syndrome, here’s a list of symptoms of adrenal fatigue. You should try to identify before deciding whether you do or don’t suffer from this affliction.

#1 Rise And Don’t Shine

Most people around us claim that they’re not exactly morning people, which is understandable. However, this is usually a temporary situation. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee, have a good breakfast, and have a pleasant chatter with colleagues. These are all things that pretty much always succeed in making our mornings just a little bit less tedious.

However, those that suffer from symptoms of adrenal fatigue don’t have it that easy. No matter how correct their sleeping schedule is – eight hours a night, not going to bed later than 11 PM – they still wake up tired. This is one of the most prominent and crucial symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The one thing both healthy sleepers and those with hazardous schedules have in common is the fact that this is all triggered by stress.

Even when you’re trying to follow a correct sleep pattern, if your life is dominated by stress. Several chemical reactions happen in your body that lock it in a perpetual state of alert. This, in turn, keeps you from getting the rest you really need.

#2 Tired Throughout The Day

To pick up on what we left off, people suffering from adrenal fatigue have it tougher. They wake up in the morning all grumpy and ready to burst in tears at the thought of going to work. This is because the issue doesn’t really disappear throughout the day. You may drench yourself in coffee, but the fact that you’re not feeling capable of “lifting” yourself and giving the boost of energy necessary to carry yourself to the end of the day still stands.

#3 Bad Stress Management

When you analyze it, everything problematic with adrenal fatigue can be found within the functioning of our hormones. Substances such as cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine are crucial to be released in order to give us the focus and energy necessary to keep the apathy and weariness at bay. When they’re not released… well, we’ve earned ourselves a bunch of symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

But let’s rewind a little bit: they give us focus. Moreover, these substances also give us the necessary amounts of strength and awareness to handle stressful situations. People struggling with adrenal fatigue may have a little bit more trouble facing constraining situations not because of any kind of mental disturbances. But because there isn’t enough of these vital substances being released to sustain a favorable response.

#4 Evening Energy Spikes

While it’s true that constant low energy, apathy, and weariness are all typical symptoms of adrenal fatigue, there can be some exceptions, especially in the early stage of the syndrome. The average human’s energy should decrease throughout the day, with the biggest burst happening sometime around the start of the day. Of course, after we’ve dragged ourselves out of the bed and chugged down some coffee.

Some adrenal fatigue sufferers, however, experience these energy variations in a completely different way. The weariness gradually wears off until the evening, which becomes the peak of their energy. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it weren’t for the fact that it encourages a vicious cycle. If you have more energy in the evening, it can carry on into the night. In other words, it might have you go to bed at really late hours, it will ruin your sleep schedule, and you’ll wake up even more tired than usual.

Yawning Woman

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#5 Weak Immune System

The benefits and necessities of cortisol don’t end with the regulation of energy and focus levels. Cortisol is also extremely important for our immune systems. This is because of its capacity to keep watch over inflammations and keep them under control while the body is fending off any infections. Low cortisol levels put a stump in the normal functioning of your immune system, essentially making it “paranoid” and overly-cautious. Something like that can lead to a variety of respiratory or auto-immune problems.

Alternatively, high cortisol levels aren’t too good even since they can also cause disturbances in the proper functioning of the immune system. Thus, it’s essentially rendering it weakened and vulnerable to diseases. It’s important, therefore, to maintain a balanced level of cortisol – not too high and not too low.

#6 Mental Fogginess

If you’re having trouble keeping your head in the game, this might be because one of the many adrenal fatigue symptoms. We’ve already established that cortisol plays a crucial part in helping you stay focused. As a result, it’s understandable what kind of aftermaths low levels might have to your everyday tasks. Said aftermaths can range from being unable to stay focused on what you’re doing, having your thoughts race from one thing to another, or simply feeling like your head is foggy and heavy.

#7 Food Cravings

There are two things worth mentioning on this topic. The first one is that late-snacking is often one of the typical symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The reason goes hand-in-hand with the first point mentioned in this article. Part of that “alertness” that low cortisol levels throw over us we include the “your blood sugar is low and you need to eat” alertness. It usually ends up waking you up and making you crave something yummy late in the night.

The second thing worth mentioning is that adrenal fatigue sometimes comes with weight gains too, especially in the area of the tummy and on your thighs. It’s not food in general that those suffering from adrenal fatigue crave, but particularly salty and sugary things. You know it’s bad when they get to the point that they’d be willing to run to the store in the middle of a rain pour just to purchase a chocolate bar.

Ending Words: Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

What do you say? Do you identify with any of these symptoms of adrenal fatigue? If yes, fret not. Most of them can be combatted and solved, rather easily too. Trying to keep stress levels low and following a healthy sleep schedule are the first steps towards a quick recovery.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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