Thousands of years ago when men were carrying clubs and wearing little fur loincloths, adrenaline was a life saver. You could count on its rapid fire results to propel you through the hunt or when some wild beast was hunting you. Adrenaline still gives us that jolt of energy when faced with a threat or surprise. But for the most part, it isn't necessary in everyday life. I mean, how often are you chased by a giant boar or a saber-toothed tiger?
Adrenaline creates some very unusual physical sensations that help you survive stressful situations. Time seems to slow down. Things seem to happen in slow motion. At the same time, you feel extremely alert, energetic and responsive. If you are physically hurt, you don't feel pain. You feel detached from reality — more of an observer than a participant in what's happening. These mechanisms are in place to help you survive dangerous situations.
But what happens when your entire life is fueled by adrenaline? Is that possible? Absolutely. You may not have wild animals chasing you, but chasing your own tail will create the same effect. Our high-intensity, over-stimulated, stress-out lifestyles keep a constant adrenaline drip running through our veins. Initially, adrenaline gives you a high. You feel alert and energetic. Over time, you feel increasingly fatigued and unable to deal with stress. The adrenal glands are weakened, and you become susceptible to illness, insomnia and depression. You can become detached from the world around you, including family and friends.
Even with all of the negative consequences of an adrenaline-fueled life, adrenaline addiction is quite common. Type A personalities and people who are angry, worried, guilty or fearful are especially susceptible. Are you addicted to adrenaline?
Here's a self test to find out:
1. I drink caffeinated beverages in order to get going and keep going.
2. I eat sugar to calm myself.
3. I over-promise and then rush to finish projects.
4. I arrive at work rushed and already “on”.
5. I feel an inner rush or lack of stillness most of the time.
6. I tend to be impatient.
7. I drive over the speed limit, tail gate and get angry in traffic.
8. I tend to run late or arrive just in time.
9. I often have to deal with a problem or hassle in my life.
10. I don't allow reserves of time in the day for things that come up.
11. I love a challenge and pushing through it as hard as I can.
12. It takes me a few days to calm down from surprises or upsetting events.
13. I find it boring or difficult to just relax and hang out with people.
14. I am at my best when under pressure and deadlines.
15. Sometimes I deliberately set myself up to wait until the last minute.
16. I don't arrive at the airport an hour before my flight.
17. I carry my cell phone even when I don't need it.
18. I unconsciously try the hardest way to get something done.
19. People complain that I'm not there with them, even when I am.
20. I am a driven type person.
15-20 — You are a certified adrenaline addict
11-14 — You probably have an unhealthy level of adrenaline in your body.
6-10 — You may have an adrenaline problem.
0-5 — Bravo! Adrenaline does not have a hold on you.