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June 2010 - Are You Addicted to Adrenalin? What is Adrenalin Addiction?

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Are you one of those women who think they have to fill every spare moment with doing something or accomplishing something? Do you find it uncomfortable just to relax or take time for yourself? If you answered “yes”, then you may be addicted to adrenaline. Take the test.

Adrenaline Addiction is the hidden cause of many of our time, balance and productivity challenges.

In our achievement-oriented society, adrenaline addiction has reached epidemic proportions particularly amongst women because more and more women are in the workforce while still maintaining their roles as wives, mothers and homemakers.

More often than not we work on the symptoms of adrenalin addiction. We focus on stress and its related illnesses – chronic fatigue, lupus, etc or we beat ourselves up for our poor time management skills.  We criticize ourselves because we don’t produce enough.  We blame ourselves for being disorganized, overwhelmed, procrastinating or being late not realizing that adrenalin addiction is the real problem. 

It is time to bring Adrenaline Addiction out of the closet so that professional women can achieve success and improve the quality of their lives while maintaining their health and wellbeing.

What is adrenalin?

Adrenalin is part of the “fight or flight” response that our bodies experience when needing to cope with acute stress. The adrenal gland is part of our immune system and helps keep us healthy. In stressful situations, our adrenal glands secrete a hormone called adrenaline that increases our rates of blood circulation, breathing and carbohydrate metabolism giving us added energy.  It helps us to respond faster and deal more effectively with the crisis at hand. 

Because adrenalin gives us a burst of energy that allows us to produce effectively in a crisis, many of us begin to rely on it. Unconsciously we begin to recreate the circumstances that produce the adrenalin until  it becomes a habit. While adrenalin is a great resource for us, when it is used as our primary source of energy, it has some serious side effects.

The payoffs from Adrenalin Addiction are:
1)     It creates an urgency that gets you into action
2)     A temporary burst of high energy – you get a “rush” or “high”
3)     A temporary increase in your focus and feeling of accomplishment
4)     It makes life feel more exciting
5)     A temporary ability to avoid negative feelings

The downside of Adrenalin Addiction is that you:
1)     Create stress and crisis in order to produce results
2)     Wait until the last moment so you can be the hero that saves the day     
6)     Try to be Superwoman and have unrealistic expectations
7)     Frequently over promise and under deliver
8)     Live reactively rather than pro-actively, reacting to crises rather than planning for the future.

The costs of Adrenaline Addiction are:
1)     Tremendous stress on your body
2)     Over time, it weakens the immune system and leads to illness
3)     You lose your ability to focus
4)     You sacrifice quality for immediate results
5)     You get depressed because you don’t produce at your best
6)     It adversely impacts your personal and professional relationships
7)     You tend to live in the future and fail to enjoy or maximize opportunities in the present.
8)     You constantly beat yourself up because you are never enough

 Adrenaline Addicts are often:
1)     Workaholics
2)     Overachievers
3)     Constantly on the go
4)     Perform well in a crisis
5)     Production machines

To find out if you are an Adrenaline Addict take the following assessment.
Adrenaline Addict Assessment
  1)     Do you find it difficult to sit still?
2)     Do you have difficulties saying “no” when asked to do something?
3)     Do you schedule every moment of the day?
4)     Do you create unnecessary drama in your life?
5)     Do you get a thrill out of waiting until the last minute to pull off a task?
6)     Is it difficult for you to take time out for yourself to rest and rejuvenate?
7)     Do you feel the need to slow down but are afraid you will become totally lazy?
8)     Do you feel overwhelmed much of the time?
9)     Are you frequently running late?
10) Do you find yourself multi-tasking causing more havoc?
11) Do you take on more than you really want because you feel you can?
12) Do you fail to give yourself enough time during the day for the things that invariably come up?
13) Do you feel guilty if you take time off work?
14) Do you tend to procrastinate in order to motivate yourself and then rush to deliver?
15) Do you think of yourself as someone who “works best under pressure”
16) Do you use junk food, caffeine or sugar to boost your energy?
17) Do you hate standing in lines or driving behind “slowpokes” in traffic?
18) Do you avoid or cancel appointments or calls with friends or family because you’re afraid they’ll take up too much of your time?
19) Do you think or complain a lot about not having enough time?
20) Do you eat meals “on the run” while working or driving?

If you have 1-5 YES” answers, ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO.  Congratulations. You are in control of your time and live a balanced and healthy life.  Keep up the good work. 

If you have 6-10 “YES” answers, AMBER ALERT! You may be on your way to Adrenaline Addiction. Be mindful of how you schedule your time and the people, places and things in your life that drain your energy.

If you have 11-15 “YES” answers, CODE RED!  You are an adrenaline addict who is headed for a crash and burn that can result in physical, emotional, mental and spiritual havoc. It’s time to create a let go list of all of your energy drainers and remove from your life. Schedule at least 3 minutes a day just for quiet time to reflect, focus and get clarity.  You will find it will boost your creativity.  Learn and practice “one minute hypnosis”, or meditation. (For those of you who are interested we teach 1 – Minute Hypnosis to our clients.)

If you answered “YES” to 15 or more questions, CODE BLUE!  Take a moment right now to pause and take 3 deep breaths. You are an adrenaline addict that needs to take an immediate time out and reflect on your priorities so you can make some decisions that will support you in living a balanced and fulfilling life.

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