• Nisha Jackson, PhD

Recognizing and Overcoming the 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue

Not all fatigue is created alike. You may know that you feel a general sense of chronic exhaustion – but do you know what stage of adrenal fatigue you may be in? Each is associated with a distinct type of cortisol imbalance. Developing a better sense of the stages and the warning signs can help you to better identify the right remedy.


Stage 1- Wired and Tired

Your body can still produce significant amounts of cortisol – the stress hormone you need to deal with stress physically and mentally. You likely feel alert and able to stay up late hours dealing with projects. Your brain may find itself racing to the point where you struggle to go to sleep.


Stage 2 – Stressed and Depressed

Your system may be beginning to breakdown, but you’re still able to produce the hormones you need to combat stress. Likely side effects are daytime fatigue and dependence on stimulants throughout the day. You’re tired, but unable to relax.


Stage 3 – Burnout Resistance

You can still function – but your sex drive, energy, and stamina all take a hit in the morning. You’re beginning to lose muscle mass and starting to feel run down. Most worryingly, this phase can go on for months or even years.


Stage 4 - Burnout

In the immortal words of Jackson Browne, you’re running on empty – and your body has simply had enough. You’re exhausted no matter how much sleep you get. Your body is out of options for managing the burden of prolonged stress – and it can’t figure out how to manufacture enough stress hormones.

As you reflect on your own stress levels – which stage sounds most familiar to you? And what steps are you taking to recover?

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© 2018 by Nisha Jackson

*this degree is from an unaccredited college and is not approved for use in Oregon