Addicted to Adrenaline?

Take this Assessment to See if Adrenaline May Be Damaging Your Health

What is Adrenaline?

Adrenaline is a substance also known as epinephrine. (For those “ER” fans, it’s what they inject in the heart when we an individual has heart failure and the paddles have not worked to start the heart). Adrenaline is your body’s response to a “fight or flight” situation. It is meant to be a short-term response to a threatening situation. This response includes an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, changes in circulation from the internal organs to the muscles, increased release of glycogen and glucose, plus pupil dilation. Long term exposure to adrenaline eventually results in tissue breakdown leading to psychosomatic disorders such as ulcers, cancer, and heart disease. (A psychosomatic disorder is a real illness caused from stress or emotions).

Take the inventory below to see whether or not you are increasing your stress and potentially damaging your health by “running on adrenaline”.

Mark Each Item as True or False

______ 1. I’m consistently on time or early for all appointments.

______ 2. I find myself constantly rushing to meet my next client because there always seems to be some sort of delay before the appointment.

______ 3. I have trouble squeezing in everything I need to do in any one given day.

______ 4. I have no more than one cup of caffeinated coffee, cola, OR tea per day.

______ 5. I have absolutely no patience for traffic jams or long lines.

______ 6. If I’m walking out the door to an appointment for which I may already be late and the phone rings, I will answer the phone.

______ 7. My schedule allows me plenty of free time for rest and relaxation

______ 8. My desk is neat and orderly

______ 9. When I’m feeling stressed, there’s nothing like a chocolate bar or something sugary to make me feel better.

______ 10. I find myself losing my temper over trivial things

______ 11. I never run red lights and I almost never exceed the speed limit

______ 12. I’m very good at doing two things at once such as driving and dialing my cell phone or addressing mailers while talking to customers on the phone.

______ 13. In order to be competitive, I often promise sellers more than I can actually deliver.

______ 14. I always seem to be misplacing things and often become agitated when I can’t find them.

On Questions 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14 give yourself 1 point for each TRUE

On Questions 1, 4, 7, 8, and 11, give yourself 1 point for each FALSE.


4 or less: You’ve escaped adrenaline addiction. In general, your life is reasonably calm. You draw your energy primarily from healthy sources.

5 or above: Welcome to the club. You are placing your long term health and well being at risk through your adrenaline-based behavior. Some reasons we engage in this behavior are listed below

When do you trigger an adrenaline rush? Whenever you rush around, speed in your car, become impatient, try to do two things at once, lose things, can’t locate documents because you or your work area are disorganized, eat sugar (chocolate) to feel better, or “blow off steam” in inappropriate ways.

Adrenaline addicts create a lifestyle where their behavior becomes damaging: Instead of finding peace and joy in their activities, they are focused on getting ahead, having to win, or never having enough. They often are “coming from lack of” rather than from abundance.

If long term exposure to adrenaline is so destructive, why do we expose ourselves to this? Adrenaline is a quick source of energy when we need to deal with a difficult situation. Unfortunately, if you are seeking to reduce stress and have more balance, adrenaline is one of your worst enemies. Adrenaline can literally “numb” you senses to the point where it can block out even very strong pain. Adrenaline also blocks other feelings such as sadness or feelings of inadequacy or not being loved.

Running on adrenaline is not attractive. People dominated by adrenaline are operating in crisis mode and that is what they attract. This becomes a vicious circle in which the adrenaline-based agent attracts one crisis after another, with each crisis feeding more adrenaline into the agent’s system, until ultimately, there is a break down. The break down may come in terms of burnout, accidents, relationship breakdown, actual physical disease, or emotional breakdown.

Need help breaking the vicious cycle? Some quick tips.

  1. Eliminate caffeine. Caffeine stresses the adrenal glands as well as your heart and circulatory system. Going “cold turkey” generally causes a severe headache (this indicates your addicted to caffeine). If you’re a coffee drinker, try mixing 3/4 regular coffee with 1/4 decaf, then 1/2 and 1/2, then 1/4 regular with 3/4 decaf. Substitute herbal tea or decaffeinated cola.
  2. Schedule one hour of emergency time in every day and leave 10 minutes early for every appointment. Take the extra time, if you have any, to do something relaxing such as reading or some other quiet, but enjoyable activity.
  3. Clean up your work area.

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