Is Fight or Flight Doing You In?

by Kalidasa on December 16, 2011

Fight or Flight

Fight or Flight

Fight or flight is an instinctual response to threats. How this keeps you in disease and how to reverse the problem is of highest importance. You simply cannot get healthy when your body is revved up ready to run or fight all the time.

The instinct of fight or flight causes some serious biochemical changes in the body. There is a big release of cortisol (cortisone) and epinephrine (adrenaline) that causes several other changes to happen. These changes cause the body to drop everything, biochemically speaking, for the sole purpose of either getting out of there fast or fighting off the threat. The main systems that are important for this are the muscles and heart rate.

The systems that are revved up or boosted are release of fat and sugar into the blood (so there is fuel for the muscles), constricted blood vessels (to slow bleeding if injured), high heart rate (for blood supply), an increase in serotonin (to react without thinking, or to freeze in fear — anxiety attack), closing the sphincters (constipation), Do any of these sound like conditions that people deal with all the time?

The systems that shut down include digestion, the immune system, cellular repair, reproduction and detoxification. You don’t need any of these when you’re running for your life!

Do any of these sound like some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? In many ways adrenal fatigue is biochemically identical to being locked in fight or flight. Many modern ailments are a result of these changes which all start from being stuck in a chronic state of fight or flight.

Let’s look a little more closely as specific conditions caused by this.

Releasing fat and sugar into the blood stream (to feed muscles) leads to high blood sugar (type 2 diabetes) and high triglyceride levels.

Constricted blood vessels leads to poor circulation which can be the cause of high blood pressure as well as cold hands and feet.

High heart rate is sometimes heart palpitations. It can also lead to heart conditions.
Increased serotonin is misunderstood by most people, even some doctors. It is the primary cause of depression and panic attacks as well as some forms of schizophrenia — hearing voices.

Closing the sphincters causes constipation which can lead to serious issues.

Digestion shutting down leads to poor digestion and contributes to irritable bowel symptoms.

Immune system shutting down leads to chronic infections and autoimmune conditions. Yes, the immune system shutting down is one of the possible causes of the immune system eating away at healthy tissue.

Cellular repair shutting down is the reason people don’t get healthy even if they eat perfectly and take the right supplements. In fact, supplements and herbs don’t do much good when this happens.

Reproduction shutting down leads to erectile dysfunctions and general loss of libido. Libido is a lust for life as well as sex, so nothing or very little seems interesting.

Detoxification stops causing toxins to build up. Detoxification happens in many ways with the liver and bowels being the most important ones that are lost when in fight or flight. And, acid is not detoxified so the body becomes acidic.

Any of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue could indicate that you are stuck in a state of fight or flight. Several symptoms would increase the chances that your are.

The cure can take a lot of time. Several weeks of vacation is one way to do it. Taking herbs and supplements can help. Applied kinesiology has techniques for releasing the emotions that hold on long term.

Treating for adrenal fatigue is a great way to start. You can find information on how to do that in my book, Adrenal Fatigue — Get Your Life Back.

If you like I can also help with a phone session using applied kinesiology. The best way to contact me is through email. You can use the contact tab above to send me an email. Please email again if I don’t get back within a day or two as I get a lot of email and sometimes lose track. Please send your phone number or skype id if you live outside the US.

This is a major issue that baffles doctors more than adrenal fatigue. Keep yourself from becoming overly stressed, eat a good diet without any processed foods, avoid drugs like illegal ones as well as tobacco and caffeine and get some exercise most every day to stay healthy and generally free from the fight or flight response.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

KAMALI February 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Reading your article can make one realize that they are living out their lives by fighting and fleeing. Most have allowed this to become a norm. Having balance between fight/flight and rest/relaxation is the way life is intended for us. Thank you for sharing! Great information.

Jeff grider March 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Wow. I have been to doctor after doctor! Done blood test after blood test! One guy said Im functional hypoglycemic and another says I need to see a psychiatrist? I can’t sleep, constant panic attacks, neck, brain and body aches? I taste n smell an odd taste constantly? Foggy vision! Memory problems! Even thoughts of suicide?? PLEASE HELP!
46 years old and have been dealing with this for years?.!


Kalidasa March 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

@Kamali. Yes, this is an important issue. The big problem is that we get stuck in fight or flight. Ancient people ran it off or struck back, then it was over.

Kalidasa March 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

@Jeff Grider. Severe adrenal fatigue is likely your issue. There are other possibilities though, your email address suggests you do flooring, I used to do that too. The toxins involved can be major! There are ways to detox — a big subject that I know well. Toxins will definitely affect the adrenals. Adrenal fatigue often progresses to mental issues by affecting brain chemistry. If you I’d try adrenal support first — that’s my best protocol, and there’s more information in my adrenal fatigue book.

sarah April 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

Very informative piece, have been off work sick for 15 mths now. Had a mini-stroke in 2007 and had an electrical accident at work.
My arm was affected in the accident and the pain is getting worse affecting other areas……. All you describe is how i feel, cant think straight, no interest in life. Getting very angry with my kids and the world in general

Kalidasa April 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

@Sarah, so sorry to hear. You can change things with some calming herbs. Best to make sure your diet is very clean too. Some adrenal herbs and supplements are likely to help out as well.

Rachel from Birmingham, UK July 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hi, Kalidasa.

Just to let you know how things are going. I have almost completely cut out grains from my diet – oats, pasta , cereals and bread. I have started going for walks again, which I always used to love. And, most of all, I have stopped smoking. I had some blood tests done by my family doctor who was really pleased with the results – the sugar levels were in the ‘excellent’ range. He totally agrees with you that Diabetics like me should avoid starches and sugars. The quitting smoking is hard, but I am very determined. Your advice is spot-on.

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