by Dr. Andrew Neville
If you’ve been suffering from the debilitating effects of Adrenal Fatigue for 6 months or more, you know by now that it’s not just a passing illness or a condition that will just run its course. It’s stubborn and seems here to stay.
By the time my patients reach me, they’ve seen so many doctors and specialists and had countless labs performed that they’re frustrated, over-medicated, and resigned to feeling the way they do for the rest of their lives.
For the most part, my patients are researchers. They’ve looked high and low for a solution to their fatigue, pain, depression, and digestive or immune disorders. They’ve heard the same generic information spouted from almost everyone out there. They’ve found no relief.
As you’ve hunted for answers to this intensely frustrating condition, maybe you’ve met doctors or self-proclaimed experts you hoped could give you your life back. You’ve tried their approaches, but nothing anyone has ever recommended has worked long-term.
Because of this, I’m going to assume you’re skeptical of just about anything anyone claims to know about how to heal Adrenal Fatigue. I get that, but I want you to know there is hope.
I am a graduate of Bastyr University School of Naturopathic Medicine and am a licensed Naturopathic Doctor. I am not an internet “doctor,” as are some of those who claim to treat Adrenal Fatigue through quick-fix programs.
What I’ve learned after 18 years of practice is that any attempt to treat Adrenal Fatigue without addressing what’s occurring in the rest of the stress response system, including the brain (the limbic system to be precise, where it all starts), is ultimately designed to fail.
Assessing and treating Adrenal Fatigue and its associated stress-related symptoms and conditions is what I do, all day, every day. I’ve devoted my life to helping patients. I know what works, and I am here to help.
Life Without Enough
Energy To Live It
Before I go on, I want to make sure you know that none of this is your fault. That’s important: none of this is your fault.
The treatments you’ve tried have failed you; you haven’t failed them. If you’ve tried various supplements, diets, detoxes, or hormone therapies, it wasn’t your fault they didn’t help.
The fact is, they couldn’t work, however much you may have hoped they would. Why not? There’s more to healing Adrenal Fatigue than taking a couple pills, eating well, cleansing your gut, or adding HRT.
There is no greater desire of my patients than to be able to return to a fulfilling, active, and productive life.
Most other clinicians who claim to know about the adrenals isolate the treatment to the symptoms, or perhaps they’re promising energy using supplements. Of course, your body does need care and support to return your energy levels to normal, but that’s only a one-sided approach to health.
My Surprising Findings
After 18 Years of Healing Patients
When you have Adrenal Fatigue, you most likely have been shuffled from specialist to specialist, and none of them has known exactly what to do with you.
Every day, I must reassure my patients by reminding them: “It’s not all in your head.”
That’s how ignorant and arrogant the medical establishment is about this real but “invisible” condition. Adrenal Fatigue can have a catastrophic impact on your quality of life and having a professional dismiss your symptoms as purely psychological is narrow-minded and condescending.
The conventional medical industry is simply not built to address a complex condition like Adrenal Fatigue, which has no magic pill for healing.
Healthcare professionals offer band-aids, by way of chemical prescriptions and treating symptomatically rather than healing the root cause of disease. This is akin to putting a piece of tape over the check engine light in your car. You may not see the symptom anymore, but you most certainly have not fixed the problem. As a result, even the strongest, most optimistic person can leave a doctor’s office feeling down and misunderstood.
My approach to healing Adrenal Fatigue does what all other treatments fail to do: repair the entire stress response system itself.
My Tri-Level Approach to Healing Adrenal Fatigue does what all other treatments fail to do: repair the entire stress response system itself, not just the sluggish adrenal glands. This is the absolute key to successful recovery.
This process includes repair of all three components of the stress response system. It starts with repairing the damage that’s taken place at the brain level, in the limbic system first and foremost; however, it also must include repair of the damage to both the nerve and hormone sides of your stress response.
Your Stress Response System
The Limbic System of the brain is the “CEO” of your stress response. It’s the region of the brain in charge of keeping all our organs running. It keeps all the amazing mechanisms in our bodies working on autopilot, controlling regulatory functions, such as temperature regulation, sleep-wake cycles, and appetite and hunger signals.
One of the most important jobs of the limbic system is making the subconscious decision for your body to be in fight-or-flight mode when necessary. Once that decision is made, it simultaneously triggers both the nerve and hormone sides of the stress response, resulting in the adrenal glands pumping out stress hormones.
The hormone side of the stress response is referred to as the HPA Axis (Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal). This axis ends with the triggering of the adrenals to release cortisol. The hypothalamus and pituitary sit just under the limbic system in the brain, although they are part of your hormone system and not your central nervous system.
The nerve side of the stress response refers to the Autonomic Nervous System (or ANS). These are the nerves that control your organs. They also send signals to your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline.
The ANS is a system of nerves; consider the ANS as two wires from your brain that travel to every organ in the body. One wire is a “fight-or-flight” and the other is a “rest-and-digest.” These functions oppose one another; the ANS can only fire off one wire at a time. When a person is stuck in fight-or-flight mode, the body is hyper-focused on survival and nothing else.
Targeted treatment is essential to healing.
Although they work together, I first must address each of these two systems separately. For example, when a patient experiences a rapid heart beat under stress, it is primarily the result of the main fight-or-flight nerve to the heart, and therefore, an ANS issue. But if a patient has low blood sugar, which is the result of a cortisol imbalance, there is instead a hormone or HPA axis issue.
The reason I look at the hormone and nerve side of the stress response individually may be obvious: Nerves are inherently different than hormones. That means the treatments are also different. In other words, if the rapid heart beat occurs because of an ANS issue, my treatment is going to be quite different than if it’s a result of a hormone imbalance. Targeted treatment is essential to healing.
All that said, you absolutely cannot affect one of these systems without affecting the other. They work together intimately.
Oh, That Busy Limbic System
The limbic system’s job is to assess your environment, constantly, both internally and externally. From there, it adjusts to the changes it finds. It first receives information—or stimuli—through the blood supply or sensory nerves and perception. It then filters that stimulus through your past experiences and belief systems; it must then decide, subconsciously, how to react.
When the limbic system perceives a threat, it also tells the adrenals, via both the nerve and hormone side of our stress response system, to get busy by delivering stress hormones around our bodies. These stress hormones are adrenaline and cortisol, and they help our bodies mobilize and kick in our fight-or-flight response.
Today, our lives are full of so many “little” stressors—not to mention all the life-altering events—that our limbic system is working triple-time.
These stress hormones give you a boost of adrenaline. They tell your heart to beat faster and give you the oxygen you need to avoid danger. They increase blood sugars for energy and prepare your muscles for whatever is coming your way, no matter how big or small the threat.
Do this once in a while, and it will save your life. Do this too often, and it creates tremendous wear and tear on your body…all over your body.
Why We’re Swimming in Stress
Our limbic system evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago. The scenarios then were often immediately life-threatening: fear of starvation, becoming prey, and environmental changes that we could not control.
But today, our lives are full of so many “little” stressors—not to mention all the life-altering events—that our limbic system is working triple-time. For example, changing careers, although a positive move, is considered a stressor to our limbic system.
Even our limbic system itself, by its own doing, is swimming in stress hormones because of life events, and it becomes chronically overstimulated and even trigger-happy. If it’s constantly in fight-or-flight mode, your body never has a chance to come down, reset, and heal.
The Body-Wide Damage of a
Trigger-Happy Stress Response
What if there are so many stressors in your life—anywhere from sitting in traffic to the death of a loved one to a worldwide pandemic—that this response is no longer acute?
If your limbic system perceives any stress as a threat, no matter how small, it tells your adrenals to pump out adrenaline and cortisol constantly. But cortisol and adrenal can be incredibly damaging when they are triggered over and over.
When the limbic system is overstimulated, the adrenal stress hormones begin to do damage to the limbic system itself. The more time passes, the more this increases the body-wide drain and dysfunction. How long were we designed to run from a predator? How long can our bodies hold out? Not long.
But these constant daily—sometimes hourly—stressors are always occurring. We get “stuck” in a chronic stress response and become increasingly sensitive to our environment.
We start to over-interpret our world as stressful. Things that wouldn’t have stressed us in the past now trigger our stress hormones, which feels like panic or anxiety. We can’t seem to get our bodies out of fight-or-flight mode…even at the grocery store.
This causes a vicious cycle of a chronic stress response, even when there are no stressors present.
The longer this occurs unchecked, the more each of the body’s global operations can be thrown into chaos. Chronic overstimulation of the limbic system—and as a result, the rest of the stress response—has detrimental effects on the body.
If someone has Adrenal Fatigue, these dysfunctions are already occurring:
➊ Energy levels drop
➋ You hurt and ache for no reason
➌ You start to gain weight despite effort to control it
➍ Sleep patterns become irregular
➎ Mood swings and irritability intensify
➏ Digestion slows causing GI dysfunction
➐ Menopausal symptoms worsen
❽ Thyroid problems develop
“Why Has No One
Told Me This Before?”
Others attempt to “fix” systems in your body that are, at best, secondary or tertiary issues. Of course you have digestive, immune, and reproductive system problems; when your body is stuck in fight-or-flight, it suppresses these very systems.
Perhaps no one’s told you this because it’s an inconvenient truth that would spoil their efforts to sell you diets, supplements, herbs, or detoxes as quick-fixes. I do wish it were that easy. I wouldn’t be writing this article, and you’d be feeling great!
Other practitioners chase symptoms and pay no attention to the underlying cause.
They provide a band-aid solution to what is essentially a deep, infected wound in your stress response system.
They attempt to fix systems in your body that are, at best, secondary or tertiary issues.
Worst of all, they all waste your precious time, energy, and money on superficial treatments that yield temporary results at best.
The quick-fix approach to Adrenal Fatigue will never work. Why? The actual adrenal gland dysfunction is only part of “Adrenal Fatigue.”
Adrenal Fatigue is a dysfunction of the entire stress response system, not just the adrenals.
Other doctors or internet personalities may even offer what I consider “adrenal support,” but they do not treat the whole of the stress response system, which also needs very specific attention and repair.
Calming an Overworked
To heal completely—and for good—we must focus on the function of the entire stress response system, and we must do it at the same time.
As I wrote above, the stress response system involves interaction between the brain (the limbic system), nerves (the autonomic nervous system), and hormones (the HPA axis). You wouldn’t try to heal one part and leave the others unwell, would you?
Best of all, while your body heals, all the hopelessness and frustration you’ve been feeling for months—or years—dissipate.
As we work together, your limbic system begins to calm and repair. It will no longer constantly trigger your adrenals. As a result, you’ll begin to feel a lift in energy levels.
You’ll experience less pain, less inflammation, and improved digestion. You won’t feel downright exhausted every waking moment.
Best of all, while your body heals, all the hopelessness and frustration you’ve been feeling for months—or years—dissipate.
Anyone with Adrenal Fatigue
is Fully Capable of Healing
Treatment is different for everyone, because everyone’s body is unique genetically and biochemically and is experiencing slightly different symptoms.
When we work one-on-one, my exact recommendations are always tailored to you. We must target the stress response system from a variety of angles.
Mine is a holistic, multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to healing. You must be treated as a whole person and not as a cluster of symptoms to be “picked-off” by specialists, one by one. We need to get to the root cause. Without doing so, there will be no lasting result.
I’ve been working exclusively with Adrenal Fatigue patients for over 18 years. I’ve seen and heard it all. During thousands of patient interactions, I have used my Tri-Level Approach to Healing, while others may only just be beginning to grasp the concept of healing on such a deep level.
You may have to be home right now, but you don’t have to heal alone. My patients work with me from the comfort of home. My program was designed that way because, frankly, adrenal patients are usually downright exhausted.
Lab tests are shipped to your door.
Your one-on-one appointments with me are by video.
Your treatment plans are individualized.
We fine-tune biweekly with phone check-ins.
If you’d like some more information about my individualized adrenal program, please get in touch. You can get your life back.