First off I need to make something clear about a comment in my first post. I make an insensitive remark when I say "in your head," I am in no way implying that people with anxiety/depression/or other mental health problems are just imagining their problems and that they are just not trying hard enough(I see now how ignorant that could come across thanks to a few mods who are looking out for all of us). I said "in your head" because of all the different programs and techniques out there that are try to get you to change how you think/percieve things to try and help people with anxiety and depression. Alot of these programs probably help alot of people, but I have many of and now look at it like my body was seriously trying to tell me something was wrong, while the programs were teaching me that my "percieved threat" was illogical and was actually the cause of my intense anxiety. When it was more like my thoughts were reacting properly to a very real threat, allthough not percievable in my suroundings there was still a threat to my safety going on inside of my body chemically. I'm not a doctor so I don't know if this is the case for everybody, but I think everybody should check it out.
Test for adrenal fatigue include: Saliva test done 4 times a day(saliva is more accurate than blood for this cortisol test) So basically your cortisol and dhea needs to be tested. If you search for Saliva Test's for Cortisol on the web or adrenal fatigue test you will find many laboratories that will send you a test kit at home without a prescription. This will save the cost of a doctor and you won't need to convince him what tests to do. Then if you have it, go to a doctor who says they treat it, and if you don't you don't need to go to the doctor at all. I was sceptical about my thyroid, and my doctor wanted to test my overall health and lots of other stuff so my labs were $750, but I wanted to go the extra mile here to try and rule out that if I have anxiety/depression it's not caused from something that can be easily fixed. I found an online cortisol and dhea test that was $170 and they have different packages with other things as well. They will explain them. Make sure it measures several times a day for the cortisol because your body has a natural progression that should look like this
cortisol level: edit: I tried to make a little graph here showing what a healthy person's cortisol would look like throughout the day with readings at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and then 10 p.m. but when posted it was a mess. The readings were 25 nM, 10nM, 8nM, and 6 nanoMeters of free cortisol at the respective times.
If you draw a line through the X's you get a healthy person's cortisol levels, waking up feeling refreshed with the most energy about an hour after they wake up, and slowly declining throughout the day. My levels were low and backwards, I had a reading of 5,5,6, and 8, which explains why I have more energy and feel better later in the day.
The treatment used for this is pretty standard and easy if you have a knowledgable doctor. If you have a minor case of adrenal fatigue, adrenal support supplements can be had at alot of health websites online without a prescription. Some are pretty potent though so be careful if you are going to try this on your own. Alot of people do, but you need to inform yourself, and probably shouldn't try it on your own if you're on ad's or other medication. Find a good doctor and be careful! In most cases though cortisol is prescribed in pillform to help the body get what it needs while letting your' reserves build up. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes it takes over a year, just depends on the person.
My doctor initially said he would give me around 10mg of cortisol(it's a steroid by the way) and was sceptical about going any higher, which makes me scared about his treatment plan. He said this was his specialty though and he his giving me other meds as well, like an adrenal supplement, t3(a thyroid hormone), and Pregnenolone(which helps the body produce cortisol). So I am worried because everything I have read says people treat it with just cortisol, but I'm going to try what he says, and if I need more and he doesn't want to give me more I will find a doctor who will. I am on websites allday reading articles from the best doctors for this in the country, and it is pretty standard practice to go with 20mg of cortisol and in extreme cases up to 40 mgs a day. When you take the pills you are supposed to mimic your adrenal glands normal production so you would be taking a dose every four hours that might look like 12.5mg, 7.5 mg, 5mg, and then 2.5 mgs. Most people in the medical field are scared silly of steroids, and they have good reason, but they take it too far. When steroids were first discovered in the 1920's or 30's they were deemed a miracle drug because of the amazing results people were seeing. Well the doctors went nuts and started prescribing large doses for lengthy amounts of time, to make a long story short, years later patients showed horrible side effects of steroid abuse that we still associate with steroids to this day, and the medical field deems cortisol as extremely dangerous and hate's to prescribe it for very long now.
A few doctors along the way experimented with prescribing cortisol for sometimes many years on a patient, but in much lower doses with absolutely no bad effects. Most doctors don't know this. There is a difference between a "pharmacological"(sp?) dose and a "physialogical" dose. One puts unatural amounts of cortisol in your body and the other normalizes the amount in your body. But you need cortisol to live. Currently most of the medical field only recognizes the most extreme form of low cortisol, which is addison's disease. I think that's were your' body produces no cortisol at all but don't quote me on that. I'm pretty sure you can die from it though.
In his book, "Safe Uses of Cortisol" Dr. William Jeffries says, ‘cortisol is a normal hormone, essential for life.’ (In fact it is the only hormone you die without!)
Steroids are not anything unnatural or alien to your body at all, just need to be taken carefully.
On the thyroid thread in this forum I talk about how prednisone made me feel normal physically but I had side effects that would be comparable to paranoid schizophrenia. I could have very easily been taken to the mental hospital around that time, I didn't want to share this because it's even embarassing over the internet, but when I took the prednisone I LITERALLY thought my parents and everybody in the world was trying to hurt me and were after me. I jumped out of a moving car which my dad was driving and ran off into the hills, I came back later so I was safe and didn't get hurt.
About a week after I stopped the pills, I ran out of juice and everything went back to depressed and lethargic. My extreme paranoia could have been a normal reaction to two different things(more, but just two I know of).
1.high levels of cortisol make you have heart palpitations, anxiety, discomfort, everyting that you associate with panic attacks. Remember a normal dose to treat adrenal fatigue is 20-40mg of Hydrocortisol(brand name cortef), well I was on 40 mg's of prednisone. I did some more research and found:
1mg of prednisone = 4mg of Cortef that means I was on a dose of prednisone equal to 160mg's of cortef where 40 mg's should be the max.
2.a thyroid dump. This is where your' thyroid works correctly so it has been pumping hormones into my blood for a long time with no cortisol in my body to activate it and send it throughout my body to use it. When I started the prednisone my body would then start up and make an extremely high amount of thyroid hormones activate all at once. According to Dr. Lam, (one of the leaders on the subject in the country) these unnatural reactions to steroids happen when your' adrenal fatigue is more severe, and within a couple months an "overall sense of optimism returns" and the panic attacks clear up completely. That's anxiety and depression fixed as soon as your body balances itself back out.
I wrote about my horrible experience on prednisone so people can see how "irrational" the mind and perception CAN be when there are hormones out of wack. I am going to start back on steroids knowing that I might get some of these same reactions, but they will hopefully go away after a while. I'm also going to start slow, and increase my dose overtime to avoid a thyroid dump. My mom who was diagnosed as bipolar 10 years ago, said I was manic on the prednisone. I now think that when she was manic right before she was committed, she was under alot of stress and could have just had high cortisol levels that people have when they enter phase 1 of adrenal fatigue. She wants to wait to get tested to see how the treatment effects me, but I'm going to make her get tested as soon as I can afford it.
I'm not a doctor, and I understand I don't have the background that they do, or maybe not the whole picture, and a little bit of information can be dangerous, but there is tons of information out there stating that alot of hormone problems are misdiagosed as mental health issues. The doctors stating this stuff aren't far off in backwoods villages either, their usually well respected in their field and across the country. Dr. William Jeffries, the guy experimenting with safe uses of steroids, has something like 3 doctorate degrees and 2 backelor's. Dr. Lam's full name is Michael Lam, MD, MPH, ABAAM. Here are some quote's taken from Jamie Bowthorp's thyroid webpage:
-Dr. Ridha Arem, in his book, “The Thyroid Solution: A Mind Body Program for Beating Depression and Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health”, states:
Scientists now consider thyroid hormone one of the major “players” in brain chemistry disorders. And as with any brain chemical disorder, until treated correctly, thyroid hormone imbalance has serious effects on the patient’s emotions and behavior.
-Thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4, as the storage hormone) and triiodothyronine (T3, as the converted and direct active hormone) not only play a part in the health of your metabolic endocrine, nervous and immune system, they in turn have an important role in the health and optimal functioning of your brain, including your cognitive function, mood, ability to concentrate, memory, attention span, and emotions. On her website, Christiane Northrup, MD states that T3 “is actually a bona fide neurotransmitter that regulates the action of serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is important for quelling anxiety.” She also states that “If you don’t have enough T3, or if its action is blocked, an entire cascade of neurotransmitter abnormalities may ensue and can lead to mood and energy changes, including depression.”
-Dr. Barry Durant-Peatfield, in his book Your Thyroid and How to Keep It Healthy, states
“Brain cells have more T3 receptors than any other tissues, which means that a proper uptake of thyroid hormone is essential for the brain cells to work properly.”
God Bless and Good Luck!!
Edited by illun, 11 December 2009 - 12:56 PM.