Is stress making you ill?
Monday 11 January 2010
It seems that common complaints such as always feeling tired, irritable, low sex drive, loss of concentration and too many coughs or colds could actually add up to a health condition - despite what your GP might tell you!
'21st Century Syndrome', which features these pesky health complaints, has now recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
If the above symptoms sound familiar, then you may be suffering the side-effects of modern-day life, something which now has the name Adrenal Fatigue.
These non-specific symptoms are now so common that WHO have had to identify them as part of a separate stress disorder.
Affecting mostly women, it is caused by the adrenals (walnut-sized glands placed just above the kidneys) becoming overworked.
The hormone cortisol is usually pumped out during short-term periods of high stress levels, to help the body cope.
However, due to modern living being persistently stressful, these adrenals are becoming tired and ultimately the body’s cortisol levels are fluctuating, leaving us less able to respond to the strains of everyday life as effectively.
Although sufferers may not have any obvious physical illnesses, a general sense of feeling unmotivated and ‘grey’ can overcome you and it definitely seems to increase around the Christmas and New Year period with worries of credit card bills or family feuds.
The amount of people suffering with Adrenal Fatigue seems to have increased as the current recession has taken hold, resulting in financial concerns and job-hunting - hardly a relaxing time for some of us!
It is now estimated that a third of us undergo the syndrome at some level, and, of course, the natural reaction to worry is not advised as it can easily make the problem worse.
The condition can stem from one particular stressful event such as divorce, loss of a loved one or even a drawn-out illness like glandular fever.
Once it takes hold, there are some steps you can take to ensure that the symptoms don't take over your life.
What can you do?
A bit of ‘me’ time - try and make the time to look after yourself.
A decent diet is the first step to take, such as eating wholegrains, fish and lots of fruit.
Try and exercise regularly and take some time off to relax and ease your worries.
Book time off work for a holiday, perhaps have a regular massage or even just lounging out in front of the T.V can help tackle this new found condition.
These solutions all seem simple and every girl likes to treat herself so give yourself and the adrenals a break, doctor’s orders!
By Lauren Fassam
How do you de-stress?