Feeling rundown? You might have adrenal fatigue

If you’re feeling stressed, rundown, lethargic, and have a weakened immune system, you may be going through more than just a funk–you may have adrenal…

Running a marathon or getting through a stressful day at work requires adrenaline, but when you’re constantly asking your body for more, you might be running into adrenal fatigue. (Bob Jagendorf/Flickr)

If you’re feeling stressed, rundown, lethargic, and have a weakened immune system, you may be going through more than just a funk–you may have adrenal fatigue.

Classified as a syndrome because it defines a group of varying symptoms, this condition is estimated to affect approximately 16 percent of the public severely, though as many as 66 percent may be experiencing some level of adrenal fatigue.

SEE ALSO: Foods that help you sleep–and foods that keep you awake!

The Adrenal Fatigue organization indicates that levels of adrenal fatigue within the population are difficult to map because, since they are influenced by stress, levels fluctuate according to the state of the economy and other issues that affect the masses like elections, national emergencies, terrorist attacks, etc.

“As a psychiatrist I treat many empath-patients who come in exhausted with a syndrome known as adrenal fatigue,” writes Judith Orloff, M.D. on Psychology Today. “This is a collection of symptoms such as exhaustion, body aches, anxiety, trouble thinking clearly, and insomnia. In this condition, the theory is that the adrenal glands can’t keep up with outside stress, so the hormones such as cortisol that normally keep you energized begin to get depleted.”

People who are told they have adrenal fatigue may also have it referred to as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, or adrenal apathy, but the syndrome known as adrenal fatigue is not considered a formal medical diagnosis as of yet.

What are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

People who as suspicious of adrenal fatigue often experience symptoms of:

  1. Lethargy for no reason.
  2. Difficulty getting up in the morning, even when going to bed at a reasonable hour.
  3. Feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
  4. Difficulty recovering from stress or illness.
  5. Craving salty and sweet snacks.
  6. Feeling of alertness in the evening compared to the rest of the day.

Because adrenal fatigue is used to describe a group of symptoms, individual cases may vary and some people may experience complications unique to them.

If adrenal fatigue isn’t a formal diagnosis, how can it be treated?

Though adrenal fatigue isn’t formally recognized by Western medicine, a number of psychologists and medical professionals believe this is a legitimate disorder that warrants targeted therapy. According to Dr. Orloff, a big part of this disorder appears to be managing negative thoughts that keep an individual obsessing over their issues and how they negatively impact their lives.

For people who have been told they have adrenal fatigue, Dr. Orloff recommends the following steps to manage the condition at home:

  • Get a blood test to measure cortisol levels and see where “the stress hormone” is at in the body.
  • Consider temporary natural cortisol replacement per your physician’s recommendation.
  • Get as much rest as you can on a regular basis.
  • Eliminate the people and activities that sap your positive energy (like negative co-workers, etc.)
  • Eat a natural whole food diet and avoid junk food.
  • Add Himalayan Red Salt to your diet and get rid of low quality salts (always check with your physician if your blood pressure is high).
  • Avoid white flour and other toxic grains.
  • Minimize your sugar intake.
  • Gentle exercise and stretching.
  • Meditate and take meditation mini-breaks throughout the day.
  • Take 2,000-5000 mg Vitamins C orally every day.

Before starting any treatment regime make sure you visit your regular doctor. The symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue can also be the symptoms of more serious medical conditions. Be sure to rule out infectious diseases and other disorders before looking to adrenal fatigue as an answer. It may also be beneficial to seek counseling to help learn how to keep stress at a manageable level day-to-day.

SEE ALSO: Insomnia remedies: Alternative solutions for your sleep issues