Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which the adrenal glands can not produce certain hormones at an adequate rate, leading to many symptoms such as severe exhaustion and disturbed sleep. The chemicals produced by the adrenal glad affect many of the processes that occur within the body, leading many to believe that adrenal fatigue may affect a great many systems throughout the body. The validity of adrenal fatigue as a legitimate medical condition, however, is often disputed, and the disorder attracts more interest from proponents of alternative medicine than from traditional medical practitioners.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue mostly relate to general tiredness and sleep problems and tend to closely resemble other fatigue-related disorders. Constant exhaustion that is not significantly altered by sufficient sleep is among the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. The quality of sleep also tends to be diminished, and insomnia and other sleep disturbances are not uncommon in those suffering from adrenal fatigue. Severely limited stamina is also common, leading to difficulties in sustaining physically demanding tasks for prolonged periods of time.
Fatigue, low energy, and sleep problems are not the only symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can harm many important systems in the human body, often indirectly leading to further medical problems. For example, adrenal fatigue can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, rendering an individual more susceptible to a variety of other sicknesses. It can also lead to cardiovascular problems and can cause low blood pressure. Decreased or impaired sexual drive is also among the common symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue often have detrimental effects on mood as well, as adrenal fatigue may lead to mild depression and irritability. Additionally, one may experience a feeling of being overwhelmed. Sometimes, irrational and unexplainable fear with no discernible source may also be present. It can also lead to anxiety and heightened sensitivity to temperature and light.
The treatment of adrenal fatigue often falls into the realm of alternative medicine as many health professionals do not recognize it as a legitimate illness. Additionally, most of the treatments are completely symptomatic, meaning specific symptoms of adrenal fatigue are treated, but the disorder itself can not be treated. Vitamins and herbal supplements are commonly used to restore some level of energy to those who suffer from adrenal fatigue. In severe cases, some doctors will treat patients with hydrocortisone, which can help to restore energy and boost the immune system.