Jennifer is a 36 year old woman who is has come to counselling feeling overwhelmed at work and home.
She is a typical type A personality type where she will get the job done and everyone can rely on her. She has two children and reports a healthy marriage. She states that she used to feel energized and walked daily and watched her diet. Recently her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she has been attending her needs and appointments when she can. Her father had recently passed away.
Jennifer sought answers for her low levels of energy, brain fog, cravings and inability to handle stress. Minus the case scenario, many people come to counselling feeling down or anxious and report difficulty handling stress.
Perhaps a little understanding of the hormone coritsol can shed some light on this.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is secreted by our adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are the chestnut-shaped stress glands on top of our kidneys.
They secrete over 150 different hormones and are the body’s first responders in times of stress. Whenever you are stressed, the body secretes adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones as part of our fight and flight mechanism.
Adrenals make it possible to react to danger whether it is physical, emotional, or even imaginary. If you are watching a scary movie and a friend pokes you and you jump – you either have enough energy and strength to run away or punch them. That is the fight and flight mechanism. Unfortunately, today, stress and the secretion of cortisol in response to stress, is affecting our population and destroying our health and mental health.
The adrenal glands are designed to only work part time or in emergency situations. However, with the demands of our current lifestyle they have made stress an ongoing and accepted part of daily life.
This can result in fatigue and burn out. No wonder Jennifer was feeling sluggish with work, helping her mom, dealing with grief, etc.
The adrenal glands are key in several body functions including blood sugar and carbohydrate metabolism; health of the cardiovascular system; central nervous system; immune system; and hormonal production.
If you have adrenal fatigue and an increase in cortisol secretion you may experience: feeling tired all the time as if you are running on fumes; brain fog; insomnia; weight gain (especially around the belly); anxiety or depression; hair loss; acne; dizziness when standing; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; loss of appetite; cravings for salt or sugar or both; poor immunity; reliance on stimulants like coffee to make it through the day; intolerance to cold; feeling overwhelmed or crying; and feeling tired in the morning even though you have had plenty of sleep.
If you experience three or more of the above symptoms your adrenals may be working overtime and you are secreting too much cortisol.
Counselling alone can address issues related to improving coping skills, relaxation techniques, stress management, etc., however there are a multitude of complimentary therapies that can also be examined that can be beneficial. Health and mental health do not work independently. Diet, sleep, lifestyle, etc. all play an integral part in our ability to function. It is important to discuss options with your primary care provider, a mental health therapist and other complimentary therapies in order to achieve maximum holistic health.
If you are concerned about exhaustion and fatigue and would like more information, Parry Sound Family Service is welcoming Dr. A. Martin from the Martin Clinic in Sudbury on May 10 at Belevedere Home for the Aged on Belevedere Ave. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Please call 746-9789 to book a spot. Dr. A. W. Martin DC, Ph.D, RNCP, D.N.M. is certified by the Examining Board of Natural Medicine Practitioners.
He is the author of several books including his new best seller “Medical Crisis – Secrets Your Doctor Won’t Share With You”. He is the host of “Ask the Doctor” on CJTK in Sudbury, Ontario for the last five years. Recognized as one of the leading researchers on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and environmental toxins.
Jody Downie is Executive Director of Parry Sound Family Service. She is also a certified HANDLE screener. Parry Sound Family Service offers individual, family, marriage and group counselling.