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Adrenal Fatigue and Anxiety

  • Anxiety is a very common adrenal fatigue symptom
  • You can get it under control

In a survey of 89 visitors to this site, 84.3% said they experience anxiety.

It is also one of the most bothersome symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

People often experience extreme anxiety for seemingly no reason at all.

Like most people with adrenal fatigue, I had debilitating anxiety for years. I had periods of anxiety so bad that I would stop breathing.

But there are a few things you can do to get it under control, and eventually eliminate anxiety.

Meditation for Anxiety

  • A reduced Startle Response is a sign that Mediation is Working

Meditation is essential for adrenal fatigue treatment. If you haven't already, you really should make it a part of your recovery plan.

When I slack off with my meditation, my startle response slowly starts to become exaggerated again.

To understand why, see the article: Meditation for Adrenal Fatigue.

The article also covers why meditation works even if you feel that you are not doing it properly.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

  • Use Slow Breathing .... not Deep Breathing

Another simple thing you can do to help with anxiety are breathing exercises.

Be careful with Deep Breathing. If you don't do it properly, you may actually be hyperventilating (over-breathing), which can lead to even more anxiety.

See the article:
Slow Breathing Technique, which covers a great technique that you can use any time you are having anxiety.

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Supplements for Anxiety

  • Progesterone was the most effective for me

There are a few supplements that can be helpful for the anxiety that comes with adrenal fatigue.

Ashwaganda has been show to reduce anxiety, as well as the stress hormone cortisol3. Ashwaganda mimics the calming neurotransmitter GABA1. Although I never tried it myself, I have seen others on adrenal fatigue forums have success with Ashwaganda.

Valerian Root can also be helpful for anxiety. On the adrenal fatigue forum on, I have seen people say it helped the calm down6. Others have noted that is has the opposite affect ... it actually stimulates them7.

For people with adrenal fatigue, it is common for supplements to stimulate when they should be calming. Dr Lam describes this as a paradoxical reaction.

There are lots of other supplements you can try: Holy Basil, Passion Flower, Chamomile, Magnesium, Lemon Balm, 5-HTP, and several others.

Progesterone was very effective for me when I needed it. I started taking progesterone cream because a saliva test showed low progesterone.

Two weeks after starting progesterone cream, my anxiety completely stopped.

Other supplements simply took the edge of anxiety. Progresterone completely stopped it. Although it took me a few years to understand why.

The Cause?

  • Elevated Copper may be the cause
  • Copper is linked to progesterone / estrogen balance

As noted above, it took 2 weeks for me to notice the affects of progesterone. If it was the direct effect of the hormone, it should have had an impact sooner.

The answer may be that progesterone cream corrected estrogen dominance, which is common with chronic stress.

Elevated estrogen has been shown to increase copper levels in the brain9.

And copper has been shown to block receptors for GABA, which is a calming neurotransmitter10.

The article Copper and Anxiety explains the positive feedback loop that is set up.

copper anxiety

Copper increases anxiety and stress

Stress increases copper retention, and copper increases stress.

Does it get better?

I no longer have anxiety, and I no longer need progesterone cream to keep it under control. As of March 2015, it has been over 2 years since I have had a panic attack or anxiety.

Meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises have been a very helpful.

Great book on Copper Toxicity

Why Am I Always So Tired?

However, the most helpful thing has been copper detox. Detox has been long process.

As I improve, copper and other toxic metals are leaving my body at a faster and faster rate.

See the article Heavy Metal Detoxification Trends, which shows increased toxic metals in my hair.

You may not be ready to seriously consider detoxification as an important part of adrenal fatigue recovery. It sure took me a few years before I was ready to try it.

But do a little research, and keep it in the back of your mind as something to try.

Good luck with your recovery.

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1. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda
2. Progestin receptor-mediated reduction of anxiety-like behavior in male rats
3. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.
4. The gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activity
5. Use of valerian in anxiety and sleep disorders: what is the best evidence?.
6. Curezone Post: hope4myadrenals - Valerian Helps
7. Curezone Post: GaiaSophia - Valerian stimulating.
8. Progesterone's effects to reduce anxiety behavior of aged mice do not require actions via intracellular progestin receptors.
9. Effect of estrogen on serum and tissue levels of copper and zinc.
10. High-affinity copper block of GABA(A) receptor-mediated currents in acutely isolated cerebellar Purkinje cells of the rat

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