What’s the cause of nervous exhaustion? Chronic stress. When you experience stress, your body produces adrenal hormones that excite your nervous system. Whether you're late paying the mortgage or a Bengal tiger is chasing you, the result is the same – rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and emotional agitation. On a short-term basis, this is a good thing because it is your body’s method of self-preservation.
The problem occurs, however, when you experience this type of stress every day. Your mind does not perceive the difference between being late with your bills and being stalked by a tiger. The end result is a chronic output of adrenal hormones. Long-term output of adrenal hormones can have a harmful effect on your body, such as causing high blood pressure, irritability, and headaches. Over time, the adrenal glands eventually lose "juice" and you risk developing severe exhaustion.
Ideally, we produce the most adrenal hormones in the morning, which then drop off by bedtime, allowing us to sleep. Constant low levels of adrenal hormones may result in fatigue and weakness, while constant high levels may result in insomnia and irritable bowel. Another abnormal pattern is low adrenal levels during the day with high adrenal levels at night, causing daytime fatigue and nighttime alertness.
Other than a prescription for a 3-week vacation in Hawaii, treatment for adrenal burnout may include vitamins, mineral supplements, herbs, and specific dietary changes.
Some of the most useful vitamins to counteract the effects of stress are the B vitamins. I often recommend a high quality B vitamin complex for my clients who complain of stress-related symptoms because stress will deplete the body of these important nutrients.
Symptoms related to low levels of B vitamins, particularly B5 and B6, may include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, nervousness and depression. Do these symptoms sound familiar? Add them on top of the effects of stress and you're in for a double whammy!
The B vitamins are crucial for proper metabolism of adrenal hormones and carbohydrates. These nutrients play a big role in turning sugar into useable forms of energy.
Therapeutic dosage of a high quality B vitamin complex to reduce the effects of stress and prevent nervous exhaustion is about 50 - 100 mg of each of the B vitamins, daily. Most people experience relief and renewed energy within 1-2 weeks. When you combine them with stress-dissolving techniques, such as prayer, meditation, or visualization, the effects can be long lasting.
Other things you could do to prevent nervous exhaustion is to reduce your sugar and caffeine intake. I know it's a lot easier said than done, and yet when you do so, you will notice a big difference in your mood. Eat fresh fruits and lots of nuts and seeds. These foods will regulate your sugar level and prevent those nasty mood swings and tension headaches.
If you still need something more than a B vitamin complex, see your doctor for more nutritional advice. There are herbs, such as Ginseng, Ashwaganda and Rehmannia, that have been very effective in restoring adrenal balance. The B vitamins, however, is a good first step. Just remember that nervous exhaustion and fatigue are treatable and preventable.
Dr. Jacob Farin is a naturopathic physician who works with clients across the country who want natural health options and don't know where to turn. If you've been looking for expert advice on alternative therapies and don't have immediate access to a qualifed naturopathic physician, he can help you. Register online at his web site: http://www.FarinHeights.com