One of my favorite things to work with in the human body is brain chemistry because resolving it often resolves a lot of other issues because an imbalance can cause several issues. The most common are depression and panic states though other conditions can arise from it. This article will explore emotional stress and how it affects brain chemistry.
It Starts With Stress
The human body can be stressed by its environment, toxins, diet, thoughts, emotions, stress, relationships, the way we think of ourselves and more. When an animal body, including and especially humans, is exposed to stress an instinctual fight or flight reaction happens. This reaction causes a cascade of chemicals to release so the danger can be dealt with. The problem is that most people in today’s world experience more of this in a year than our ancestors did in 60 or more years. And, this impacts the brain and its chemistry.
One of the things that happens is a degeneration of the hypothalamus, at the base of the brain near other important glands like the pituitary. In fact, it often shrinks. This leads to more serious conditions than a simple chemical imbalance. Many scientists are starting too suspect that there is a connection to Alzheimer’s. One of the biochemists I study with asserts that this is the case as well as causing other mental degenerative conditions.
How This Happens
The reason for this is that when emotions are experienced the impact on the body is through the hypothalamus. Emotions cause the hypothalamus to release of small signaling proteins, an amino acid peptide. These neuropeptides have a very strong affect on the body, especially when there is a steady stream of them. This and other factors affect the brain as well as other systems in the body in a negative way. Short term would be fine, we’re designed to deal with that, it’s the constant flood of stress that causes the eventual problems.
The specific issue that a person may experience is dependent of a lot of things. Genetics, toxicity, upbringing, culture, diet and other issues cause a particular path of dis-ease. This can be depression, dementia, panic attacks or a general feeling of panic, even basic behaviour.
The Adrenal Connection
This is all in addition to adrenal fatigue which happens because the adrenals produce hormones to help the body deal with stress. Eventually they grow weak and compensate by delivering fewer hormones and in less quantity. If it gets bad enough they stop producing the hormones that regulate sodium and potassium, the only tests that doctors typically have for adrenal fatigue. This is well beyond simple adrenal fatigue symptoms, heading quickly towards death.
The body’s reaction to stress is what leads to adrenal fatigue as well as other serious conditions. There’s even more to the story of neuropeptides and the problems excess amounts cause. Little is known by the medical community about the connection to stress, adrenal fatigue and brain chemistry though they are starting to figure it out. Fortunately there are holistic practitioners that have found solutions to some of these problems. I’ll cover those in later articles or perhaps a book.