Lifestyle & Supplements

A Patient’s Obstacles to Healing

Written by Dr. Andrew Neville

Adrenal Fatigue is a multifactorial condition. In most of my patients, it’s been going on for years or decades, and there is no solution that will turn things around overnight. Healing from this condition takes time, but it is normal and much a part of human nature to have developed a quick-fix mentality.

My predecessor Dr. Poesnecker would say, “Our patients want miracles; we give them miracles, just slow ones.” The healing process is incremental and gradual…and best yet, completely possible.

The majority of my patients are cut from the same cloth, sharing similar personality traits. I call these traits because these qualities can be controlled. Being overly caring, sensitive, overachieving, and a perfectionist are common. Change is difficult, and my patients are asked to do many things that are new to them. We’re not looking for perfection. Perfection is not necessary for healing, and any attempt at it will actually slow down the process.

Fear and worry

Telling a person who has Adrenal Fatigue not to worry is like telling a person with tuberculosis not to cough; it is inherent in the condition. When the stress response is overactive and overused, a person will be wired to worry. We’re wired like that on purpose; it’s part of our fight-or-flight physiology.

But the excessive fear and worry experienced by most adrenal patients is connected to too much stress hormone. During the healing process, it makes sense to reassess worries, write them down, let go of those that can’t be controlled. Regardless, the patients who are committed to my treatment protocol always have an easier time getting their stress response system to “rewire.”

I encourage my patients to get out of their heads as often as possible. Disconnect and reconnect with nature, go for a walk, go to a park or a beach, put their bare feet on the earth. Even small steps in this direction can reap huge benefits.

Chasing Symptoms

Years of treatment by well-intentioned yet misinformed practitioners, as well as all the opinions om the internet, both from laypersons and clinicians make Adrenal Fatigue an even more confusing condition.

Patients have spent years chasing secondary and tertiary dysfunctions, or what I call red herrings, that are the result and not the cause of this condition.

Thyroid disorders, digestive issues (malabsorption, leaky gut, or candida), or immune issues (alleriges, EBV, chronic Lyme) are not the cause of all your problems, even though you’ve repeatedly been told they are. If you are a researcher, like most of my patients are, you have also read these issues are the cause of your problems too. The exact opposite is true.

Cleanses, detoxes, supplements, diets, and therapies, etc., which may give transient relief, do not get to the root cause of the body’s dysfunction.  unwell. After going down the same road and getting the same mediocre results, trying something different makes sense.

Too much too fast

As a rule, the majority of patients with this condition are sensitive, so making simple, single changes are key. The first rule, start low and go slow, prolongs the introduction of supports and changes. While this may be a bit frustrating to some, it is far more efficient than adding too much too fast, having a reaction, backing off and starting over again.

Being a bit scientific as you move through this process helps. Research scientists work to control as many variables as possible to pinpoint cause and effect. This brings me to the next rule, make one change at a time. Too many changes at once and you don’t know what works and what doesn’t. This is true for any change including dietary, lifestyle, supplements, vitamins, and exercise.

Using energy that’s fleeting

The allure of feeling better is a major pitfall in the healing process. Returning to full health will come in time, incrementally. I tell all my patients, whether they’re feeling good or bad at the moment, not to get used to it. It’s bound to change.

Eventually, they develop a reserve of reliable energy. Until then, I ask them to resist the urge to do more or live more during the moments when they feel better. I know this is not an easy request, but eventually, they build up an energetic bank account, so there is a surplus from which to build a healthy life.

Other people’s opinions

Sharing your pain, discomfort, and mental anguish to friends or family is a double-edged sword. You want them to understand and help, but they often just aggravate the situation with unsolicited advice. They like to chime in. They tell you how to eat, which medication to take, the path you should choose, or how to think. They say “Be positive!” or “You need to exercise!”

Well-intentioned advice does not mean well-informed advice. Everyone has a bias based on their experience. This bias creates opinions, and in turn advice.

My bias is based on my medical education, naturopathic philosophy, varying levels of experience with these issues both personally and with patients, and also my continued research.

People may ask my patients, “Are you are better yet?”  All my patients need to believe is that I’m leading them on the path to lasting health. Knowing this is their power and strength.

If you’d like to know more about working with Dr. Neville one-on-one, please click here.