In response to stressful, exciting, or dangerous stimuli human body releases adrenaline, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Some people love adventures because they produce an adrenaline rush, and they love that feeling.
But adrenaline rush can occur randomly due to various health problems.
The main objective of this post is to focus on a random adrenaline rush, its causes, and what it means for you and your health.
What Is an Adrenaline Rush?
An adrenaline rush is defined as a part of the body’s defense mechanism. More precisely, it’s a physical feeling of intense excitement or a surge of energy brought on by a dangerous situation or any other factor that causes the sudden release of adrenaline.
Also known as epinephrine, the hormone adrenaline is produced by adrenal glands and some neurons. Adrenal glands are located on your kidneys, and their main function is to produce hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. The pituitary gland controls adrenal glands.
Since adrenaline is a fight or flight hormone, it allows the body to react faster in stressful or dangerous situations.
How Does the Adrenaline Rush Happen?
The adrenaline rush starts in your brain. The brain area called the amygdala, in charge of emotional processing, receives information regarding dangerous or stressful stimuli. Once this part of the brain “confirms” the presence of danger, it sends the signal to the hypothalamus, the command center of your brain. These areas communicate with the rest of the body through the sympathetic nervous system. From the hypothalamus, the signal travels to the adrenal glands, which respond by releasing adrenaline.
What Are the Causes of a Random Adrenaline Rush?
As mentioned above, the adrenaline rush occurs primarily due to stressful, exciting, or dangerous situations. Many people seek adrenaline rush and engage in various activities such as skydiving, bungee jumping, zip-lining, water rafting, among others. Horror movies can also produce an adrenaline rush.
However, sometimes people experience an adrenaline rush randomly, i.e., even if they’re not stressed out, excited, or threatened by something. For example, some people may experience an adrenaline rush at night. This happens because, during the day, you may be too distracted to think about the sources of stress and other negative stimuli. During the night, you focus on these things, and the body releases adrenaline.
But what if you experience a random adrenaline rush during the day as well, not just at night? Several causes are behind this problem, and they point to concerns regarding your health. These include:
- Stress and anxiety – adrenaline is a stress hormone like cortisol, so stress and anxiety may lead to an adrenaline rush when not managed properly;
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a type of anxiety. People with PTSD may experience an adrenaline rush when they’re thinking about the traumatic event that caused their disorder;
- Tumor – the body can release too much adrenaline due to pheochromocytoma, a tumor of the adrenal glands. Paraganglioma, a tumor near certain blood vessels and nerves outside of adrenal glands, can also induce the excessive release of adrenaline. Both types of tumors are rare.
Impact of Adrenaline Rush on Your Health
Often described as a major boost or flow of energy, adrenaline rush produces symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, nervousness or jitteriness, dilated pupils, increased performance and strength, heightened senses, rapid breathing, and decreased sense of pain.
Even when it happens randomly, the rush of adrenaline can affect a person’s health.
Physical and emotional stress it puts on the body can be damaging to your heart.
Even a small rush of adrenaline can produce isolated palpitations that cause the heart to beat more forcefully than normal. When these things happen at random and frequent intervals, palpitations can also occur more often.
The adrenaline rush can also contribute to the so-called broken-heart syndrome. You see, the broken-heart syndrome occurs when the blood flow is reduced due to intense emotional distress.
While scientists have known the body released adrenaline to make the inefficient heart work harder, they also found in situations of emotional distress; it could only produce more damage.
It’s difficult to measure adrenaline rush, so its true impact is not fully clear.
But, continuous stress and adrenaline released into the body can also lead to high blood pressure and aggravate anxiety.
The adrenaline rush can also lead to weight gain, lightheadedness, dizziness, and vision change as well as difficulty sleeping.
If you experience an adrenaline rush quite often, you could be at risk of developing heart damage.
For this reason, you need to see your doctor if you experience a random adrenaline rush.
How To Feel Better?
The random adrenaline rush can be an alarming experience, especially if you’ve never experienced it before.
To control the sudden boost of energy, you may want to try the deep breathing technique.
Just relax and slowly inhale and exhale, focusing only on your breaths and nothing else.
Yoga or stretching exercises are also helpful for controlling the rush of adrenaline. You may also want to take a walk and get some fresh air.
Another thing that can help you with adrenaline rushes is personal heart health monitors and connected apps. These popular solutions let you measure your heart rate, blood pressure, and other important aspects, that impact heart condition. This information in turn can help you make decisions on how to act and help your doctor to come up with an effective management plan.
Random adrenaline rush may occur due to several causes, including stress, anxiety, tumor, and PTSD.
It speaks a lot about your health, points to the presence of a potential health concern, but may induce heart damage if you don’t see your doctor.
A random adrenaline rush is not something you should ignore. Schedule an appointment to see your doctor, who will rule out potential causes of sudden energy boost and help you control it more effectively.