Stress – Is There More Of It Or Have We Lost The Ability To Cope?

by Debbie Leigh, Naturopath.

We are designed to deal with stress. The fight, flight response which is otherwise called our Stress Response System (SRS) gets called into action in response to stressful events in our lives. However, is stress a modern epidemic?

stress picPerhaps the modern epidemic is a shift in our ability to cope with such stressful events. During periods of stress we produce a steroid hormone called “Cortisol” in  our adrenal glands which is ultimately regulated by our central nervous system.

During acute periods of stress we have cortisol elevations which is normal to activate our SRS.  During chronic stress we overactivate that very same cortisol which may cause anxiety, insomnia, depression, defective cognition, accumulation of visceral (tummy fat) and ultimate metabolic syndrome which is linked to onset of  Type II diabetes, essential hypertension, inflammatory disorders or osteoporosis.  Some people will have the opposite reaction to cortisol regulation and become cortisol deficient which can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, weight loss or hormonal imbalances.

Historically traditional herbal medicine has been effectively used for the treatment of stress disorders to ultimately support and regulate cortisol excess or deficiency.  In the past decade there have been many papers written supporting using herbal medicines for stress disorders with few side-effects reported.

At Paddington clinic our naturopaths have extensive knowledge to help decide which herbal medicine is appropriate for each individual person.  We have the ability to be able to mix individual herbal preparations using herbs that have been extensively tested to ensure the appropriate strength and correct active components and are certified clear of heavy metals.

It is also important to correct deficiencies such as reduced Vitamin C and B vitamins which can get burned up during stressful periods.  Also potential amino acid and mineral deficiencies can be discussed with your naturopath together with guidance on diet and lifestyle changes.