Anatomy of an Adrenaline Rush

A stress hormone, adrenaline is secreted from the adrenal glands on the kidney. The body goes into fight-or-flight response in threatening situations and adrenaline is released when this occurs. An adrenaline rush is a sudden influx of adrenaline into the adrenal glands. The threat may be real or imagined, but the body responds the same. Find out more about how an adrenaline rush is produced in the body and how it affects a person both physically and emotionally.

Adrenaline Rush

The hypothalamus in the brain signals to the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and other stress hormones. Adrenal glands produce adrenaline by transforming the amino acid tyrosine into dopamine. Noradrenaline is produced when oxygenation of dopamine takes place which is converted into adrenaline in the body. The production of insulin is then inhibited by the binding of receptors on the heart, arteries, pancreas, liver, muscles and fatty tissues. The body uses sugar and fat produced from the process to fight or flight in the stressful situation.

Effects of Adrenaline

A person experiencing an adrenaline rush will feel stress on the body. People with heart disease can experienced weakened heart muscles, heart failure or a heart attack. The brain may be impacted negatively where continuous levels of increased stress hormones can lead to a shrinking of the hippocampus (memory center). Some of the positive effects may lessen production of leptin and therefore cancerous cells in the body.

Stress Hormones and Memory

Adrenal glands are a major site of adrenaline synthesis. Stressful situations accelerate activity of adrenergic and noradrenergic neurons. The memory may be impacted as a result. Stress chemicals function as neurotransmitters which affect how memories are stored. People typically remember things that are replayed many times in the mind but a single emotionally significant event may be enough for neurons to generate long-lasting networks.

Treatment

Chronic stress, anxiety or panic disorders may trigger adrenaline secretion at excessively high levels. Anti-anxiety medications can alleviate symptoms by blocking the trigger. Beta-blockers are commonly used to prevent a failing heart from going into overdrive when adrenaline is secreted during fight-or-flight responses. In natural situations, no treatment is needed. If other situations come into play, medications may be helpful to prevent damage to the heart but it is important to learn self-care practices such as meditation, relaxation and breathing which can help relieve stress. In rare cases, a physical cause may warrant a surgical intervention to ensure the safety of the individual. Most instances can be supported with either medication or lowering the impact of stressors on the body.

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