Hi all. I've been posting at times recently about how exaggerated stress responses and/or chronic stress and consequent chronically elevated cortisol (which often progresses to adrenal fatigue/exhaustion) may lead to chronic fatigue, auto immune issues, blood sugar regulation problems and thyroid disease - and the results of my seemingly promising attempts to improve my own situation in this regard by reprogramming the HPA using supplements (adaptogens) like phosphorylated serine (Seriphos) and rhodiola rosea .
I tripped over this paper this morning in an entirely different context: biologicalpsychiatryjournal... - it sheds some interesting light on the topic.
Basically it says that patients with post traumatic stress problems show characteristic changes to the expression of a gene that modulates (adjusts) our response to glucocorticoids (stress hormone - particularly cortisol), and also reduced volume in relevant parts of the brain - and that both these changes and patient PTS symptoms reverse/improve significantly with cognitive behavioural therapy.
That's presumably with e.g. bio feedback training to recognise bodily responses/triggers of stress and to manage the resulting mental responses to minimise their effect. It'd be great to hear from anybody with experience of working with techniques like these...
It seems to confirm that chronic/long term/post traumatic stress has the potential not just to make us ill, but also to cause physical changes which may keep us ill long after the original problem has been eliminated. Not only that, but that these changes mess with our adrenal responses, which in turn it seems can (we know from other sources) often progress into the adrenal, immune, diabetic/blood sugar regulatory, thryoid problems and chronic fatigue. (the classic metabolic disease of modern times)
The message has to be that it behoves us to act if we find ourselves in unacceptably stressful situations (wrong job, relationship, bad lifestyle, bad mental habits whatever) to get rid of the causes of the stress pronto. Before lasting harm is done….
It's a bit sobering. The resulting physical changes seemingly don't automatically reverse when the stress is removed, and may predispose us to ongoing exaggerated stress responses (?) even though our life situation may subsequently have become much more relaxed. (my situation I believe - i run chronically elevated cortisol levels even when relaxed judging by the Genova adrenal stress test)
It's encouraging in that it suggests that there scope to at least make a start on reversing these effects via cognitive behavioural therapy/mind training.
This wiki page defines what a glucocorticoid (the chemical name for a family of hormones including cortisol) is - and even hints at how messing with this system may risk the onset of the previously mentioned metabolic conditions (inflammatory, blood sugar, fatigue, thyroid problems etc) by pointing out that these hormones play an important role in regulating some of these systems.
A related item that also popped up this morning which may be of interest. Clymer Health (a naturopathic practice in the US) have long history of working on chronic stress and consequent adrenal problems as the underlying cause of chronic fatigue. (i've linked their manual several times before)
It seems that one of their guys is running a phone seminar on 12th Dec at 3.00pm EST (US eastern seaboard time - 5hrs behind GMT/UK time) on adrenal dysfunction and the blood sugar control (among other) problems it can lead to: campaign.r20.constantcontac...