Physical Impact of stress on the Body – Part 2. 30 Nov 2020
In part 1, I looked at the first two phases of stress
Phase 1 - the Alarm Phase
Phase 2 - the Resistance Phase
Phase 3 - Exhaustion
To reach phase 3 - Exhaustion there must be prolonged exposure to cortisol and other stress resistance hormones.
In the resistance stage the body uses high cortisol levels to free up stored energy for the body to use to physically resist the stressor. If the body is unable to reset the cortisol levels to its normal level then the body never fully relaxes and when the next stressor comes along the cortisol levels are increase even higher. If this cycle continues the body is unable to rest and relax as the cortisol levels remain too high and the body moves from the resistance phase to exhaustion.
You know are cortisol levels are high when you feel tired but wired, have difficulty sleeping and are very anxious. Excess cortisol also interferes with the action of progesterone, testosterone and the thyroid creating more hormonal imbalances.
By the exhaustion stage the adrenal glands are either too depleted for producing too much cortisol or are reacting to the detrimental effects of high cortisol and thus reducing cortisol production significantly. At this stage you feel tired in the morning, you are constantly ill due to the suppression of your immune system, have low blood sugar, depression and feel burned out. As this stage develops muscle wastage can occur and diabetes can set in.
While this stage is very serious, it is possible to turn the situation around. One of the key things is to learn to relax and rest. I would also strong recommend Dr. Wilson's book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, or visit his website Dr. Wilson's web site, AdrenalFatigue.org, or visit Fawne Hanson's website http://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/ as they are both excellent sources of information.