Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is a hormone released by your adrenal glands and also a few neurons.
The adrenal glands can be found at the top of each kidney. They are responsible for producing many hormones, including aldosterone, cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Adrenal glands are controlled by a different gland called the pituitary gland.
The adrenal glands are divided into two parts: outer glands (adrenal cortex) and internal glands (adrenal medulla). The inner glands produce adrenaline.
Adrenaline is also referred to as the “fight-or-flight hormone.” It is released in response to a stressful, exciting, dangerous, or threatening scenario. Adrenaline assists your body to react faster. It makes the heart beat faster, increases blood flow to the muscles and brain, and stimulates the body to generate sugar to use for fuel.
When adrenaline is released suddenly, it’s often referred to as an adrenaline rush.
What happens in the body when you experience a rush of adrenaline?
An adrenaline rush starts in the mind. When you comprehend a stressful scenario, that data is sent to a part of the brain called the amygdala. This area of the brain plays a role in emotional processing.
If danger is sensed by the amygdala, it transmits a signal to another region of the brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the command center of the brain. It communicates with the rest of the body through the sympathetic nervous system.
The hypothalamus transmits a signal through autonomic nerves into the adrenal medulla. When the adrenal glands receive the sign, they react by releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream.
Once in the bloodstream, adrenaline:
- Binds to receptors on liver cells to divide larger sugar molecules, known as glycogen, into a bigger, more readily usable sugar called glucose; this gives your muscles a boost of vitality
- Binds to receptors on muscle cells from the lungs, causing you to breath quicker
stimulates cells from the heart to beat faster
- Triggers the blood vessels to contract and lead blood vessels toward major muscle groups
- Contracts muscle cells below the surface of the skin to stimulate perspiration
- Binds to receptors in the pancreas to inhibit the production of insulin
The physiological changes that happen as adrenaline circulate throughout the blood is commonly known as an adrenaline rush since these changes happen rapidly. In fact, they occur so quickly that you might not even fully process what is happening.
The rush of adrenaline is what provides you the capacity to Dodge out of the way of an oncoming car before you have had an opportunity to think about doing it.
Activities that cause an adrenaline rush
Although adrenaline has an evolutionary purpose, some people get involved in certain activities solely for the adrenaline rush. Activities that can cause an adrenaline rush include:
- Seeing a horror film
- Cliff jumping
- Bungee jumping
- Cage diving with sharks
- White water rafting
What are the symptoms of an adrenaline rush?
An adrenaline rush is sometimes described as a boost of energy. Other symptoms include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased senses
- Rapid breathing
- Decreased ability to sense pain
- Enhanced strength and functionality
- Dilated pupils
- Feeling jittery or nervous
After the stress or threat has been gone, the effect of adrenaline can last up to an hour.
Adrenaline rush at nighttime
While the fight-or-flight response is quite helpful in regards to preventing an auto accident or running from a rabid dog, it may be a problem when it is activated in response to everyday stress.
A mind filled with thoughts, anxiety, and stress also stimulates your body to release adrenaline and other stress-related hormones, like cortisol (called the stress hormone).
This is especially true at night when you lie in bed. In a calm and darkened area, some individuals can not quit focusing on a conflict that happened that day or stressing about what is going to occur tomorrow.
Though your brain accomplishes this as anxiety, the real danger is not really present. So this excess boost of energy you get from the adrenaline rush doesn’t have any use. This will leave you feeling nervous and irritable and make it impossible to fall asleep.
Adrenaline may also be published as a response to loud noises, bright lights, and high temperatures. Watching television, using your cellphone or computer, or listening to loud music before bedtime may also promote a surge of adrenaline during the night.
How to control adrenaline
It’s very important to understand techniques to counter your body’s stress response. Experiencing some anxiety is normal and at times even valuable for your wellness.
However, over time, persistent shortness of adrenaline can hurt your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure, and elevate your risk of heart attacks or stroke. Additionally, it may result in anxiety, weight gain, headaches, and insomnia.
To assist control adrenaline, you will need to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the”rest-and-digest system” The rest-and-digest answer is the opposite of this fight-or-flight reaction. It helps encourage equilibrium in the body and enables your body to rest and repair itself.
Try out the following:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Yoga or tai chi exercises, which combine movements with deep breathing
- Speak with family or friends about trying situations so you are less likely to dwell on them at night; likewise, you can keep a journal of your feelings or thoughts
- Eat a balanced, Healthful diet
- Exercise frequently
- Restrict caffeine and alcohol intake
- Avoid cellphones, glowing lights, machines, loud music, and TV before bedtime
When to see a physician
In case you have chronic stress or anxiety and it’s preventing you from getting rest at night, speak with your physician or psychologist about anti-anxiety medications, for example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Medical conditions that cause an overproduction of adrenaline are very rare but possible. A tumor of the adrenal glands, as an example, can overstimulate the creation of adrenaline and lead to adrenaline rushes.
Additionally, for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memories of the injury may raise adrenaline levels following the traumatic event.