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General Anxiety / Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) Please post any messages here about General Anxiety or Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
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  #1  
Old 07-10-10, 12:47
becky000 becky000 is offline
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Adrenaline and Cortisol

I've had anxiety, panic attacks and depression on and off for 18 years.
I often feel ill, not bad enough to go to bed, but just not completely well.
Sometimes I go to the doctor and usually end up with anti-biotics and something to calm my anxiety.
I've often posted on here asking whether anyone knows whether anxiety can in fact make a person feel ill. Most people have answered saying that they often feel unwell with various symptoms which have been put down to anxiety, but no-one could tell me why.
Since I suffer from Health Anxiety, everytime I feel unwell it triggers anxiety. Eventually I don't know what are symptoms of anxiety and what are symptoms of a true illness.
Yesterday I went to see an amazing doctor who explained to me all about adrenaline and cortisol. I can't remember all the details but I wanted to pass this info on to anyone who is concerned about the above like me.
When we're anxious our bodies produce adrenaline and I think we all know what this is for (running away from lions etc). When we don't need it anymore our bodies produce cortisol to neutralise the adrenaline and then we feel calm and well again.
Because our anxiety and panic attacks are not how how body is meant to function, we produce so much adrenaline that's not needed (how often do you have to run away from a lion?!) and our bodies can't produce enough cortisol to neutralise it, and in some cases our bodies stop producing cortisol completely.
So we're left with all that adrenaline and nothing to use it up on. It then causes inflammation in the body and weakens our immune system.
Hence we start feeling ill and don't know why.
Sorry that I don't have the ability to explain this better but I'm sure if you google it you'll come up with lots of scientific explanations.
I'm just relieved to know that anxiety does cause illness and now I know why.
So what do we do about it?
This doctor doesn't hand out drugs unless it's absolutely necessary as he believes in helping our bodies to heal themselves. I'm having 6 sessions of accupuncture which he says will help my body to start producing cortisol again, and he's put me on lots of vitamins and supplements to start repairing the damage done by the years of anxiety.
I will keep posting as I continue with this treatment to let anyone interested know how it goes.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-10, 13:47
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uk23 uk23 is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

A doctor told me that adrenaline puts all the major organs on high alert leaving us very tired and feeling generally unwell. This is because these organs dont really have a chance to rest, its like if you have 10 cups of coffee, you get tense and mentally and physically 'bouncy'. Adrenaline is sort of like this.

I know some people reading this will worry about some of the stuff you wrote so although doctors say out immune system is weakened slightly with anxiety this has not be 100% proven and is only a theory. Of course making sure you get enough vitamins and minerals is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your immune system.
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Old 08-10-10, 18:35
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StoneMonkey StoneMonkey is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

Hi becky000,
Its great news that you have found a doctor that is reassuring & is helping you to feel positive about symptoms & treatment. Have you been prescribed vitamins & minerals or has the doctor advised which ones to go & buy. I haven't been for so long I no clue what goes on.
I would be interested to know which ones have been suggested.

I cant seperate anxiety symptoms from other general illnesses. People sometimes ask if i am ill & i say to be honest i don't know. The edges all get a bit blurred. I often feel ill in a way i cant put my finger on & have put it down to depletion from anxiety & sort of got used to it.

Perhaps i could do with a vitamin & mineral boost.
Thanks Simon.
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  #4  
Old 09-10-10, 08:12
becky000 becky000 is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

I'm taking the following:
Vitamin C 2000mg (Buffered powder)
Pantothenic Acid 500mg
Zinc
Magnesium Chelate 300mg

He also mentioned that I should take Omega 3 and 6 and Vitamin B but hasn't put me on these yet.

I'm really happy to take vitamins as I don't like all these drugs the other doctors hand out like smarties.
I do believe that ones body can heal itself if it's nourished correctly. And I also believe that the mind plays a big part.

You describe exactly how I feel in not being able to separate anxiety symptoms from other illness. But when I'm feeling "normal" I can rationalise with myself. That if it's something serious then I won't be able to continue in my normal routine. There'll be pain or fever or something that'll tell me 'this is serious'. While my mind is telling me that I'm ill I continue to push on physically and this is a test to see if I am in fact ill or not. But it's HARD!

I often worry that I put everything down to anxiety and what if I'm missing something that does actually need medical attention?

When you say that you often feel ill but can't really put your finger on what's exactly wrong? That's just how I feel - most of the time and for many years. I was happy when the doctor explained what this is caused from. At least I know I'm not imagining it. And now I know it what is causing it I can fix it.

I hope you can too.
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  #5  
Old 09-10-10, 13:49
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MidnightCalm MidnightCalm is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

Quote:
Originally Posted by becky000 View Post
I'm taking the following:
Vitamin C 2000mg (Buffered powder)
Pantothenic Acid 500mg
Zinc
Magnesium Chelate 300mg

He also mentioned that I should take Omega 3 and 6 and Vitamin B but hasn't put me on these yet.

I'm really happy to take vitamins as I don't like all these drugs the other doctors hand out like smarties.
I do believe that ones body can heal itself if it's nourished correctly. And I also believe that the mind plays a big part.

You describe exactly how I feel in not being able to separate anxiety symptoms from other illness. But when I'm feeling "normal" I can rationalise with myself. That if it's something serious then I won't be able to continue in my normal routine. There'll be pain or fever or something that'll tell me 'this is serious'. While my mind is telling me that I'm ill I continue to push on physically and this is a test to see if I am in fact ill or not. But it's HARD!

I often worry that I put everything down to anxiety and what if I'm missing something that does actually need medical attention?

When you say that you often feel ill but can't really put your finger on what's exactly wrong? That's just how I feel - most of the time and for many years. I was happy when the doctor explained what this is caused from. At least I know I'm not imagining it. And now I know it what is causing it I can fix it.

I hope you can too.
I've been taking 1000mg Vitamin C daily, effervescent type, found they make my urine really yellow though! Haha. I eat a lot of mayo and that's rich in Omega 3, my Vitamin C tablet contains the daily recommended zinc and I take a multivitamin by Bassets and it's chewy, contains quite a bit of vitamins but doesn't contain loads or a big quantity.
Pantothenic Acid 500mg
Magnesium Chelate 300mg

What're they good for?
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Old 09-10-10, 14:30
evil monkey evil monkey is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

thanks for the post, have to re read it again too.

cortisol plays a big part in weight training as well, when you do heavy exercise, cortisol kicks in after about 45 or so minutes. One of cortisols things is its 'muscle wasting' (think this applies to burn patients more tho). I think the survival idea is that muscle is expensive for the body to upkeep, so if you remove muscle, you reduce the amount of food you need to survive.

*edit, just thought, that makes sense in a wierd sort of way. weight training stresses the body. your body thinks its about to have to prepare itself for survival. so it reacts with cortisol in 45 minutes. actually i think this is why they say weights sessions should be kept to under an hour"*

I have a feeling that the 'weakness' or pins n needles sensation is the effect of cortisol. not entirely sure.

there are a couple of supplements in the weight training community that reduce cortisol (one is HMB but not sure i'd want to mention them given the variety of meds), actually one of the main things that keeps it low is low intensity exercise (walking, swimming, easy cycling). but one big thing that reduces cortisol actually is plain appropriate food in the diet that creates a smooth insulin response, fruit and muesli (insulin is one of the most anabolic chemicals in the body)

vit c like said is good to, and lots of places say you really can't get enough fish oil (think how healthy eskimos are), I take 3-4 capsules some days, I've read that bodybuilders can take 10 of these things per day, and slam back fish like nuts (almonds are good too)

Potassium may be good as well, you can get in in tablets, or bananas

Last edited by evil monkey; 09-10-10 at 15:18.
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Old 09-10-10, 14:33
evil monkey evil monkey is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

& found

google defineantothenic acid

vitamin B5
Participates in the release of energy from carbohydrates, fats & protein, aids in the utilization of vitamins; improves the body's resistance to stress; helps in cell building & the development of the central nervous system; helps the adrenal glands, fights infections by building antibodies. ...

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp

magnesium good for bones along with calcium
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Old 09-10-10, 14:33
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MidnightCalm MidnightCalm is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

So if I do a 45 minute work out I'm bound to produce some cortisol to counter act this adrenaline?
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Old 09-10-10, 14:45
evil monkey evil monkey is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

i think cortisol generally should be kept low, it's high in the morning (it's one of the things that wakes you up as i read it) low in the evening, i think when the body is under duress it's produced, eg in weight trainings case to counteract the increase in activity your body is doing

so exercise defo, but not just to 'prompt' the cortisol, i think exercise for the sake of exercise it better and if the cortisol kicks in, it will only kick in to regulate what the bodies doing (if that makes sense)

i suppose in a sense it's like the rev limiter on a car. just thought of that. actually i could delete everything and put that. go me. (that is actually line 12 of beckys original post)

also one thing to add, say cortisol being produced after an hour of easy cycling. The cortisol won't just happen after an hour, then go till you next exercise. what you're doing is "programming" your body with the process of producing the cortisol. So, say a couple of days later you run or walk somewhere. The body will remember you've exercised a few days ago and think "right, thats what i did before, i practiced producing cortisol a couple of days ago, so i'm a bit better at doing it now and know what to do".

(ps, sorry if this is waffling on...its something ive been reading up on a lot recently, fan of sharing knowledge)

Last edited by evil monkey; 10-10-10 at 23:09.
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Old 10-10-10, 19:45
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StoneMonkey StoneMonkey is offline
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Re: Adrenaline and Cortisol

Thanks for your well wishes Becky000 & thank you for listing the vitamins & minerals.

I am muddling along ok but i really should give myself the chance to test out what effect a boost from vits & minerals would do. I am going to do a bit of reading up & order some. (thanks to evil monkey for all the technical stuff & pulling up those articles. B5 sounds a bit handy).

I dont think i have been more venerable to being ill because of depletion from anxiety/depression. I get less colds & sore throats than friends (probably because i come into contact with less people), but i have ended up at the position where i dont go to the doctor for anything. If someone explains that they feel under the weather that would be a normal day for me so if i had a bug or chill i would have some difficulty knowing.

If not having full blown panic we could be having problems with eyes, headaches, digestion, depersonalisation, palps, nerves, balance, depression & any number of other real symptoms any of which make me feel ill enough. I think it is quite difficult under any mix of those symptoms to be watching for something else that hasn't come from anxiety. So far i have accepted that all of my feeling unwell is anxiety & depression symptoms or depletion from them. Its hard to explain but for me permanent below the varying anxiety symptoms is like living through a fog or flue without the cold symptoms & that may all be being worn out from anxiety.

A positive is that over the 18 years that you have suffered you haven't mentioned anything serious that has come up that you have overlooked. Add to that my 20+ years that nothing serious has come up that i have overlooked then we are doing pretty good really & our bodies still seem to have capacity to be able to deal with bugs & stuff.

I dont know if my experience makes any sense but you got me thinking about things i have just got used to. Giving the physical body a lift & some TLC has got to be beneficial & i hope that your treatment makes all the difference for you.

Simon.
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