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Adrenal Fatigue and Emotional Trauma


Emotional trauma can significantly impact our physical well-being, particularly through its effects on the adrenal glands, which are the small organs nestled above the kidneys responsible for producing adrenaline and other hormones. The adrenal glands are sometimes referred to as “guardians of homeostasis” because of their role in regulating metabolism, immune response, stress response, and other important functions. 


Emotional trauma causes the adrenal glands to produce higher than normal hormone levels, and over time this can contribute to adrenal fatigue, a condition where the adrenal glands struggle to produce the baseline amount of hormones the body needs to regulate these functions.  


Cortisol is another important hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which helps regulate your body’s response to stress. When you experience emotional trauma, such as unhealthy relationships or the loss of a loved one, your stress response is activated and cortisol is released to help you cope with the situation. 


However, prolonged activation of these glands due to chronic stress depletes their reserves As a result, the adrenal glands may release insufficient amounts of cortisol and other necessary hormones, creating an imbalance. 


The adrenal glands are also part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is a sensitive feedback loop involving hormones produced by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. When emotional trauma disrupts this axis, these organs need to work extra hard to return to homeostatic balance leading to adrenal fatigue. For example, individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) often have measurably lower resting cortisol levels, and adrenal fatigue is a likely explanation.


Adrenal fatigue can lead to other bodily responses. For example, it can lead to an immune response causing latent infections to reactivate or create a chronic autoimmune condition. Women with adrenal fatigue may have a decrease in progesterone levels, causing the pituitary gland to increase prolactin, leading to infertility. Adrenal fatigue can also suppress ovulation, sexual activity, and sperm count. 


Acupuncture helps reduce adrenal fatigue by stimulating the production of healthy cortisol levels using points related to the kidneys. Acupuncture can also calm the nervous system, reduce stress response, and release physical manifestations of emotional trauma, which is essential for addressing the root cause of adrenal fatigue. Additionally, acupuncture can encourage the production of dopamine and serotonin to modulate mood and stress reduction and support adrenal health. 


The longer emotional trauma and chronic stress are left unmanaged, the harder it is for the adrenal glands to keep up with hormone outputs. If you think you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, or any of the other symptoms of emotional trauma and chronic stress, please reach out for a consultation.

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