Author: David Kraft
An adrenalin rush is a mechanism which is essential for humans and their survival. It is a vital defence mechanism. A stressful or frightening experience will trigger the release of the hormone adrenalin into the bloodstream. Adrenalin is produced by the adrenal glands which are situated above the kidneys. During ‘fight or flight’ mode, this process enables extra oxygen to get to the lungs so that individuals can run away or deal with a problem situation. Adrenalin has other temporary effects on the body: it increases strength, reduces pain, and it also increases global mental focus. However, some people, those who have for instance endured prolonged periods of fear in the past, experience an adrenalin rush when there is no threat.
When people experience an adrenalin rush their heart rate suddenly increases; blood is also re-directed to the muscles which can cause a surge of energy. This is why some people who suffer from panic attacks experience shaking limbs or a sweating response, and this is because they have all the extra blood pumping around the body, ready for action, but they remain static. Side effects of this may include feelings of light-headedness, sweating and increased temperature—this is caused by the changes in blood and oxygen supply. Adrenalin rushes can also occur at other times. For example, someone might experience an adrenalin rush when they have suddenly been mentioned at a staff meeting. Out of the blue, they are in the limelight and this can have a physiological effect on the whole body. People can also experience either an adrenalin rush or varying levels of adrenal activity during an interview, before singing a solo or when speaking in public. Of course, it is pretty usual for people to experience an adrenalin rush during sexual intercourse, watching a horror film or being on a roller-coaster ride.
Causes of an adrenalin rush
1 Stress and Anxiety
So how do you deal with an unwanted adrenalin rush?
There is a huge number of techniques that can be used to deal with an unwanted panic response. Here is a short list of some basic techniques. If these are not adequate for your needs, you might need to see a specialist for some treatment.
1 Breathe in and out slowly. Repeat the words, ‘Breathe in comfort and ease; breathe out tension’.
2 Get outside and breathe in some fresh air.
3 Imagine being in a special place (Callow, 2003) where you are comfortable and in control. Close your eyes and feel that you are actually there.
4 Use progressive muscle relaxation (Jacobson, 1938). Start with your head and imagine all the muscles in your face relaxing and letting go. Imagine this relaxation spreading down to your shoulders and then down your back. Then work down your front, all the way down to your feet.
5 Act like somebody who you know is confident and pretend that this can have an effect on your body. The more you pretend, the more it can have a positive effect on your own body.
6 Anchoring. Clench your fist and imagine a time when you were really relaxed in the past. Go to this particular scene in your mind.
7 Imagine going into a control room and turning down the heart rate lever: this will have the effect of relaxing your body and helping you go back to your resting heart rate.
8 Use humour. Distract yourself by watching some comedy on a Youtube channel. Play a computer game or read a good book.
For specialist treatment of panic symptoms, please call David Kraft on 0207 467 8564. Alternatively, you can ring him on his work mobile which is 07946 579645. David is a specialist psychotherapist and has devoted his career to helping people with phobic anxiety and panic disorder. He has two clinics—one in the West End and the other in Enfield.
Enfield Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy
70 Cosmopolitan Court
67 Main Avenue