What happens to your body when you’ve been in the fight or flight response for too long?

Each person has 2 adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. Their function is to keep you alive in dangerous situations by increasing strength and speed. The adrenal glands don’t know the difference between outside danger and internal stress so in modern society, financial stress, overwork and coffee to name a few stimulate the adrenals. This is a great system in short bursts but the problem I see in my acupuncture clinic (acupuncture Melbourne Australia) is people have been running on adrenaline for days, weeks, months and even years.

Imagine you’re being chased by a hunter. At first you have an immediate fight or flight response then imagine being aware of him still following for weeks and years. In modern society the hunter is stress

Knowing you’re being hunted, what does your body need to survive? Check out the needs of your body when you’re in a fight or flight response below.

Are we really different from our ancestors of thousands of years ago? Instead of evolving, humans have developed technology to save us from adapting and are therefore living in bodies designed for the wild rather than modern society. What happens when the body’s been in fight or flight for a long period of time? This system of fight or flight works perfectly if it helps you successfully escape the hunter, reach the tropical oasis where you drink spring water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, receive treatment from the tribal medicine person, surrounded by your protective tribe. Then you’d repair, rejuvenate and feel like reproducing.  From here it is safe to reproduce, to sleep, to be at a healthy weight, to develop creatively for the good of the community.

Instead of relaxing at the oasis we struggle for years in stress and when we think we’re relaxing at the oasis, we don’t realise we’re actually drinking polluted water, eating nutritionally deficient food, being zapped by radiation and the list of modern day stresses goes on and on.  From the pressures of high school to university, to career, relationship, nutritionally deficient food, children, financial stress and on it goes. The 1-2 week holidays becomes a mission to “squeeze as much in”. Often the holidays involve family and children which brings its own stress.

What if you never reach that oasis of safety and relaxation?  The adrenals go through stages of depletion and often a combination of the following adrenal fatigue symptoms develop.

  • Afternoon slump
  • Brain fog: trouble locating things. Always losing keys? Do you ever say “Why did I come into this room again”?
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain? Tension throughout your body and weakness in thighs, knees and low back
  • Coffee: need that coffee in the morning?
  • Craving salty or sugary foods
  • Decreased libido
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Digestion: IBS, bloating
  • Energy perks up at night
  • Fuzzy head
  • Immune system: prone to colds and flu’s
  • Insomnia: trouble falling asleep and waking through the night
  • Intolerance
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature: always feeling cold
  • PMS
  • Poor memory
  • Puffy face: puffiness through the neck and face
  • Sadness
  • Sinusitis: frontal headaches, pressure through sinuses and mucus?
  • Struggle getting up in morning
  • Struggle with everyday tasks
  • Tired and fatigued: trouble getting out of bead, afternoon slump and have a second win at night?
  • Tired and wired feeling: tired but unable to shut the mind off for sleep
  • Trouble getting up in the morning: don’t really wake up till after 10am?
  • Unproductive lazy feeling
  • Weight that won’t shift: fat through the mid-section that that tends to sag over the belly. Fat around the face and neck giving a moon face appearance.

For Adrenal Fatigue Treatment in Melbourne Australia

The best adrenal fatigue treatment I’ve found is through a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition and lifestyle changes to give you a strong feeling of enduring energy.


Berg, E. (2012) Adrenal Fatigue : Understanding the Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, Ebook.

Simpson, K. (2011) Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized and Stress Free, Oakland, CA, New Harbinger Publications, Inc

Wilson, J. (2000) Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, Petaluma, CA, Smart Publications


Leave a comment

CategoryAdrenal fatigue
  1. June 7, 2013

    Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. The term often shows up in popular health books and on alternative medicine websites, but it isn’t an accepted medical diagnosis.

    • June 11, 2013

      Hi Corey thanks for your comment. Adrenal fatigue is a term that describes the symptoms you mention however modern medicine has no treatment for it besides rest. Acupuncture, herbal medicine and lifestyle modification can drastically help. Adrenal fatigue symptoms are real for many people. It can be diagnosed through saliva tests. This can lead to actions that help improve adrenal fatigue symptoms.

  2. July 6, 2013

    I really contemplate the reasons why you labeled
    this particular post, “Adrenal fatigue symptoms. Lists adrenal fatigue symptoms”.
    In any case I personally enjoyed it!Regards-Emmanuel

    • July 23, 2013

      Hi Emmanuel thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Would you like more information about why adrenal fatigue has certain symptoms? When I update the post with more information I’ll let you know.

  3. October 28, 2013

    Hello Dr. Carter,
    I live in rural VIC and I have had drastic health problems for the last few years. No doctor has been able to help me and I always somehow get ‘blamed’ with lifestyle choices. I have a fantastic diet, I exercise, don’t drink and have now had many blood tests done. I have suspected that I have Adrenal Fatigue for a few months now. All the symptoms match me. I am a 19 year old female and the illness has severely impacted my life in the last few years. I am studying university off campus and cannot work because of it. I believe that the reason that I have Adrenal Fatigue is because of childhood trauma which lasted about 10 years. I just don’t know what to do now because no doctor will help me and I try my very best to promote good health. What would you suggest?

    Thanks for your time – Madison

    • October 31, 2013

      Hi Madison,
      Thank you for your question from rural Victoria! It seems like you’re really struggling with your health at the moment and you’re thinking it’s adrenal fatigue. It’s possible your adrenals are affected due to a very traumatic childhood. Did you know you can get an adrenal hormone test which is really easy to take?

      I’d recommend either making the trip to Melbourne to see me or finding a local natural medicine practitioner that can order adrenal tests and treat holistically via acupuncture and herbal medicine.

      Without seeing you and knowing your symptoms it’s really hard to recommend specific advise. In my Chinese medicine clinic I investigate further and can develop a treatment plan to restore your health.

      Are you resting deeply after exercise? How is your mental/emotional outlook? Energy and health is an interesting topic and it’s not only physical problems that blood tests can detect. I’d love to help you out more. Give my clinic a call so I can either help you or find another practitioner that can see you locally. Paul 0395239592

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