Anxiety and the Adrenals


Did you know that most anxiety problems are due to weakened adrenal glands? What are the adrenals?

Adrenals are glands that provide the hormone adrenaline, among others. This is used when you are stimulated to action (e.g. the fight or flight reaction). I call this the "being chased by a bear" phenomenon, because the fear generated by being chased by a bear causes a release of hormones which stimulate you to run for your life! If you are thinking that this scenario no longer applies in our modern day world, think again. So you replace the bear with your overly demanding boss at work, chasing you with the deadline rather than a paw full of claws. In any event, our bodies react the same way as if we were being chased by an actual bear. And this is a very important function of the adrenals.

When your adrenals have been weakened, this reaction is no longer functioning properly. One of the possible problems with poorly functioning adrenals is disproportion- ate worry, fear, anxiety, and panic. These are all variations of the same feeling. In Chinese Medicine, the Kidney organ includes the adrenal gland (the adrenal gland is attached to the kidney), so this phenomenon is often characterized as being a Kidney energy deficiency. Because our lives have become so overly stressful, the energy or Kidney "essence" has become depleted.

Anxiety and the Adrenals

How Did the Adrenals Become Weakened?
Some people believe that the adrenals seem to get weakened naturally as you age. The Chinese believe that this is not necessarily an inevitable outcome. There are many people 100 year olds with excellent adrenals. Here in the Western world there seems to be more of a correlation with weakened adrenals and the elderly.

Stimulants such as caffeine tend to contribute to the incidence of adrenal fatigue. In the short term, drinking coffee makes you feel better from the boost of energy. Over prolonged periods of time, the constant stimulation drains the adrenals leading to fatigue, low back pain, sleeping disorders, and increased anxiety levels.

The consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates (white rice, pasta, white bread etc…) can also contribute to adrenal imbalances. These "empty calories" deplete the body of much needed B vitamins. The body utilizes the B class of vitamins in order to break down the sugars that have been eaten. This leaves little B vitamins in "storage" for other bodily processes, so the body then turns to the adrenals for alternate energy sources. This is especially true when normal blood sugar regulatory mechanisms are overloaded.

Other sources of adrenal stress are trauma, overwork, poor sleeping habits, prescription medications, and chronic diseases. Often, mental issues can be sources for anxiety.

How to Help the Adrenals
Avoid consumption of the foods and drink described above. Make sure that you are getting proper nutrition, especially the B class of vitamins. Excellent food sources would be organic vegetables, and whole grains. Nutritional supplementation to en-sure that you are getting exactly what your body needs will help avoid adrenal fatigue. Naturally, regular Acu-Tic treatments will aid in redirecting the energy to the kidneys and the adrenals.

If there is a mental component which is contributing to your anxiety, one approach that may help is using breathing techniques such as those used in meditation and yoga. Additionally, acupuncture can be used to address underlying emotional issues; this procedure is known as Neuro-Emotional Technique. This is a process which involves stimulation of acupuncture channels while focusing on a key emotional trigger. It is very effective and a wonderful alternative to counseling that often provides permanent results.

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By Colette Cseszko, Dr.

Dr. Colette Cseszko is a Chiropractic Physician licensed in the state of Florida and Certified in Medical Acupuncture. She practices in St. Petersburg, Florida and she is currently pursuing a post-doctorate degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Miami Medical Department. For more information please visit her website at

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