Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms and Causes

Stress And Toxic Overload

Main Symptom of Adrenal Fatigue

Loss of energy or fatigue is the main symptom of adrenal fatigue. Thousands of people suffer from constant low energy that unrelieved by rest and sleep. When your adrenal glands become depleted, you are nearly unable to handle stress.

Adrenal fatigue is a serious degeneration of your body’s energy system.

Most physicians do not diagnose adrenal fatigue. Rarely, if enough tests are run it may be called Addison’s disease, which they consider incurable.

Low energy impairs every system of your body. Negative emotions build up. The world looks bad, people are evil, and a hopeless attitude is common.

Other Common Symptoms and Consequences of Adrenal Fatigue

  • Anger or Irritability
  • Inability to tolerate extreme temperatures
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained hair loss
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty building muscle or gaining weight
  • Mental depression
  • Apprehension
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Excessive hunger
  • Tendency towards inflammation
  • Moments of confusion
  • Indigestion
  • Poor memory
  • Feelings of frustration
  • Alternating diarrhea and constipation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Autoimmune diseases (hepatitis)
  • Allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Low blood pressure, lightheadedness (dizziness that occurs upon standing)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Poor resistance to infections
  • Insomnia
  • Food and/or inhalant allergies
  • PMS
  • Craving for sweets
  • Dry and thin skin
  • Headaches
  • Scanty perspiration
  • Alcohol intolerance

Depression is very common in adrenal fatigue.  You may lose interest in family, friends, work and even hobbies you once enjoyed may seem uninteresting.  With low energy you may wonder if you have enough energy to get through the day, and then you may experience anxiety.  Irritability is common, with the inability to handle even minor stress.

Unfortunately, many with adrenal fatigue function on anger and resentment. These act as adrenal stimulants, providing a negative energy with which to function.

Mental Health Effects

Compulsiveness and Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD) are associated with adrenal fatigue. One may become addicted or very attracted to excessive exercise, sex, loud music or other forms of excitement. The unconscious goal is always the same, to stimulate the adrenals into activity.

Adrenal fatigue sets the stage for the development of degenerative diseases. Cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases are end-stage results of toxin accumulation and energy depletion.

Often secondary to adrenal exhaustion are glandular imbalances such hyperthyroidism and more often hypothyroidism. The adrenal glands are the main source of estrogen and progesterone after menopause. Hot flashes and premenstrual syndrome are often due to weakened adrenal glands.

When the adrenals are weak, copper builds up in the body. Elevated copper enhances emotions. Panic attacks, bipolar disorder, mood swings and schizophrenia are related to copper imbalance. As one’s energy level declines, other toxic metals build up as well. Mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, beryllium and others contribute to hundreds of physical and emotional symptoms.

Stress Is the Ultimate Cause Of Adrenal Fatigue

The most common cause of adrenal fatigue stress. Some people use their body in fight or flight mode most (or all) of the time. This depletes their adrenal glands. Fast-paced, high-stress, fear-based lifestyles are a sure prescription for adrenal fatigue.

External stressors will eventually deplete your adrenal glands (life challenges, financial pressures, relationship issues and unresolved emotional issues).

Internal stressors can also put pressure on your adrenals (allergies, physical disease, nutritional deficiencies, food and environmental toxins).

Other Common Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Overwork (physical or mental)
  • Excessive exercise
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Light-cycle disruption
  • Going to sleep late
  • Surgery
  • Trauma/injury
  • Inflammation (chronic)
  • Infections (chronic)
  • Pain (chronic)
  • Temperature extremes
  • Toxic exposure
  • Malabsorption
  • Maldigestion
  • Chronic illness
  • Chronic-severe allergies
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals, especially when weakened by poor nutrition. Working too much or emotional stress are two common causes. Excessive stimulation, especially for children is another cause.

Many children today are born with weak adrenals due to the nutritional deficiencies of their parents. By age three or four, these children are in fatigue. They are often sick, depressed and have difficulty in school.


Unhealthy responses to stress are another cause of adrenal fatigue. These include habits of worrying, or becoming angry or afraid. This applies particularly to high-strung, nervous individuals and those with very active minds, as they are especially prone to adrenal fatigue. A poor diet with various nutritional deficiencies is very common in our fast-paced society. And when under stress, your body’s need for nutrients is much greater. Excessive carbohydrates, low protein and poor water quality will stress your adrenals.

Most of us have diets low in nutrients required by the adrenals. These include B  vitamins, vitamins A, C and E, manganese, zinc, chromium, selenium and other trace elements. The reasons for this begin with how food is grown. Most food is grown in depleted soils and then shipped hundreds if not thousands of miles. Processing and refining food further deplete nutrients.

Habits like eating in the car or while on the run further diminish the value derived from food. Also, allergic reactions to foods such as wheat and dairy products can damage your intestines and reduce the absorption of nutrients.

Toxic Environments

Toxic metals and chemicals in the air, water, food and dental materials often play a large role in adrenal fatigue. Drugs, both legal and recreational can also add to your toxic load. Toxins may also be generated within the body due to impaired digestion. When food is not properly digested, it can ferment or rot in the intestines and produce many harmful substances that are re-absorbed into the body. In most people the organs of elimination do not function at an optimal level. As a result, toxic substances slowly build up in the body leading to adrenal fatigue and many other health conditions.

In addition, adrenal fatigue can be genetic, as well as from excessive electromagnetic pollution such as cell phones, power lines & transformer stations, televisions, microwave ovens, computers.

Adrenal Glands Underactive Or Overactive?
Adrenals – Overactive
  • persistent high blood pressure for some time
  • rapid pulse
  • edema or fluid retention of the facial tissues
  • stronger than average physically
  • strong feelings, tend to “blow up” or dislike being crossed
  • FEMALE: excess hair on face, arms or legs, masculine aspects
  • MALE: baldness, excess hair on arms and back, muscular “square” build, aggressive in business or sports
Adrenals – Underactive
  • eyes sensitive to bright lights, headlights, sunlight
  • tightness or “lump” in throat, hurts when emotionally disturbed
  • voice rises to high pitch or is “lost” during stress, such as arguments, public appearances, etc.
  • easily shaken up or startled, heart pounds hard from unexpected noise
  • prefer being alone, uneasy when “center of attention”
  • blood pressure fluctuates, sometimes too low
  • blood pressure decreases when going from going from a lying down position to a standing position
  • known as a perfectionist, set high standards
  • avoid complaints, try to ignore discomforts or inconveniences
  • work off worries, things left undone cause unusual concern
  • allergies, such as skin rash, dermatitis, hay fever, severe sneezing attacks, asthma, etc.
  • emotional upsets cause complete exhaustion, must go and lie down when under heavy stress
  • inferiority complex
  • depression often relieved by eating
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia, phobias
  • guilt feelings
  • heart palpitations
  • pain or tightness in the upper neck and/or scalp
  • compulsive behavior
  • unusually ticklish
  • a head of fine thin hair
  • asthma
  • suffer from recurrent infections, viruses
  • chronic heartburn
  • unusual craving for salt, sweets
  • intolerance to alcohol, cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes
  • perspire excessively
  • alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • blood sugar disturbances
  • clenching or grinding of teeth at night

Myths About Adrenal Fatigue

Myth: Adrenal fatigue is a new thing

In fact, adrenal fatigue is as old as humanity and can help us to understand the rise and fall of civilizations. Constant wars can contribute to adrenal fatigue. Toxic exposure in lead water pipes can contribute to adrenal fatigue. Destructive religious ideas can be a factor, and oppressive economic systems can contribute.

The process of adrenal fatigue can be cumulative. Children born to burned out parents continue the pattern until the entire group goes into fatigue. Melting pot nations like America have an advantage in this regard, as new immigrants are often more ambitious and in better health, and can help rejuvenate the population. Also, nations that emphasize freedom and individual rights allow people to devise better ways of coping and maintaining their health.

Myth: A vacation, better diet, or nutritional supplements will cure adrenal fatigue.

Recovery from adrenal fatigue requires a strong commitment to healing that most people do not posses. Often, a number of natural therapies are required, over several years. If you recover quickly, adrenal fatigue was not the problem.

Myth: Plenty of sleep will cure adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue interferes with the restorative power of sleep. The body is unable to regenerate during sleep. Like a dead battery, the body does not recharge itself during sleep. Waking up tired after 8-10 hours of sleep is a primary symptom of fatigue.  The saying that if you sleep less and get up earlier and you will feel better, does not apply to adrenal fatigue.

Myth: People with adrenal fatigue have no energy and cannot work.

Many people with adrenal fatigue hold full-time jobs and may appear healthy. But they are often tired & stressed and feel that they require stimulants to keep going. Some immerse themselves in work to forget how tired they feel.

Myth: Vigorous exercise is good for adrenal fatigue.

Vigorous exercise can be attractive to those in fatigue because it makes you feel better. In the long run, this boost can further exhaust your body. People in adrenal fatigue may need to reduce exercise to a minimum, while rebuilding their adrenal glands. The energy required for exercise comes from reserves that fatigued adrenals do not have.

Myth: Adrenal Fatigue occurs mainly in men.

It is actually more common in women, mainly because of lifestyle. Many women now have multiple jobs; working outside the home and raising children as well. Many are single parents, working just to barely pay the bills.

Myth: Adrenal Fatigue only occurs in those with high-stress jobs.

Adrenal fatigue occurs in any occupation, income or educational level. Some street people have adrenal fatigue, accounting for why they may give up hope, or be incapable of holding a job.

Myth: Adrenal Fatigue occurs only in adults.

Minimal brain dysfunction, chronic ear or other infections, crib death, failure to thrive, ADHD and antisocial behavior may all be symptoms of adrenal fatigue in children. Resulting from the poor lifestyle of the parents, children are often nutritionally depleted and toxic. This can be measured with mineral analysis.

Myth: Adrenal Fatigue affects only physical health.

It affects every area of life including relationships and work. One may lose interest in everyone and everything, as there is not enough energy for more than survival. Friends, family and employers are often unaware of what is occurring, which can worsen the situation.

Myth: A hectic lifestyle causes adrenal fatigue.

Overworking and excessive activity can be a way of compensating for feelings of exhaustion. When such a person stops working and running around, they will feel just how exhausted and perhaps depressed they really are.

Myth: Overwork for years causes adrenal fatigue.

There are many factors that can cause adrenal fatigue: a single shock, a few traumas that occur together, an illness, accident, divorce, overwork or other stress. All depends on your ability to handle stress, rather than the amount or type of stress.


If you think this could be you, please read our article on Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue

Author: Life Enthusiast