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What effect does it have on our bodies? Now we can know. It is the number one complaint of Americans. We complain about it, we deal with it, and sometimes it gets the best of us. Can we measure stress levels. No. But we can measure how well we handle stress, and if it might be causing mood changes such as irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance or insomnia.

Sometimes we hear people say the stress is getting to me. Or I can’t handle the stress anymore. These are all true statements of how the body is handling stressful situations. Now we can do something about it. Evaluation of neurotransmitter and cortisol levels, through Lab Corp or Sonora Quest, allows us to view the production levels of stress neurotransmitters produced by the brain and adrenal glands.

The main brain neurotransmitter produced for stress is called norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter elevates under any stress situation even a simple one such as going from a lying position to standing(which shouldn’t be too overwhelming for most). At our East Valley Naturopathic office we evaluate levels of neurotransmitters in individuals by doing just that, putting them under stress. In healthy individuals, who handle stress well, norepinephrine should increase. In chronically stressed patients, norepinephrine is either already very low or fails to rise under stress. This will cause symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders and even loss of sleep, such as waking in the early hours. The consequences of low norepinephrine have been linked to exhaustion, inability to handle even simple tasks of daily living and even complete immune fatigue leading to cancer.

Cortisol and DHEA are produced in the adrenal gland and becomes deficient in chronic ongoing stress conditions such as are common to business owners, mothers, and those burning the candle at both ends. The adrenal gland also produces epinephrine, which is associated with energy and handling stress well, and in not a few cases, can also become depleted.

If you deal with any degree of depression, anxiety, panic disorders, sleep disorders(insomnia), or inability to handle stress appropriately you may be suffering from norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol, and DHEA deficiency. Simply supporting the production or replacement of these neuropeptides and hormones will restore energy within a few days to optimal levels.

Antidepressants are unable to treat this disorder. It requires specific therapies targeting increase in production of the neurotransmitters and hormones.