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


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