Phone: (0274) 837 188
Open: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm
Phone: (0274) 837 188
Open: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm

by Kim Knight, Kim Knight

For many people, experiencing adrenal fatigue – a puzzling condition which can include an array of symptoms – they are often unaware of what is going on inside their body, although they may have felt significantly ‘out of sorts’ for some time.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome can include:

Clients are often told by their doctor ‘it’s all in your head, just go home and get a good night’s sleep’ but nothing could be less useful or further from the truth.

Let’s look a little deeper at what’s going on…

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – a term first brought to the world by naturopathic doctor James Wilson – is a very real ‘syndrome’ involving a complex group of symptoms which all track back to severe exhaustion and depletion of the adrenal glands. These two glands sit on top of the kidneys, playing a key role in the endocrine system for maintaining chemical homeostasis in the body.

The adrenals are mostly known for creating two vital hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which are necessary for managing stress.

Initially, in the first stage of adrenal fatigue, the adrenals will over-produce stress hormones, but if the life stressors (which can be many and various) continue, eventually the adrenals will become ‘exhausted’ and under-produce hormones, which in turn can be a precursor to a host of other conditions such as metabolic syndrome, under- or overactive thyroid, Addison’s Disease, Hashimotos and more.

The point to understand here is that a variety of more serious chronic conditions often rest on a bedrock of severe adrenal depletion. And unless we do something to replete and regenerate these glands, trying to address these other conditions can be a like trying to fill up a bucket with water with holes in it.

Stress and the Adrenals

In the 1930’s, Hans Selye was the first doctor to delve deeply into the effects of stress when he put forward his ‘General Adaptive Syndrome’ (GAS) theory delineating 3 main stages of stress:

Stage 1 – the stress / alarm ‘in crisis’ phase

Stage 2 – the adaptation ‘keeping going – pushing through’ phase

Stage 3 – the exhaustion ‘final collapse’ phase.

Unfortunately most people only become aware their adrenals are fatigued once they reach stage 3 although health may will most likely already be affected during the first two stages.

My experience of adrenal fatigue

My personal experience of the onset of adrenal fatigue began in my 30’s. Over a period of months I noticed I was getting more and more tired. ‘Having a good night’s sleep’ made no difference, and as my stress levels and intolerance increased, it was clear something was amiss.

Week after week I noticed I was getting more and more tired for no apparent reason. It didn’t matter if I went to bed early, took it easy over the weekend or even went on holiday… the exhaustion remained.

Then one day I walked into work and simply quit on the spot. I just couldn’t go on. I was completely exhausted and the thought of walking into that office one more day and coping with work was just too much.

Shortly after that I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, which I later recognized was a furtherance of adrenal fatigue. I found myself unable to work for the next 10 years.

For the next 15 years I hunted for the causes and solutions of chronic exhaustion conditions, finally bringing myself back to good health. Fortunately I can now short cut years of exhaustion to a few months of recovery for the clients I now help.

The 4 types of adrenal fatigue

According to Dr Wilson, in his book ‘Adrenal Fatigue – the 21st Century Stress Syndrome’ there are four main patterns in the development of adrenal fatigue, which correlate with different personality types:

  1. The type A ‘super woman / iron man’ who thrives on adrenaline and pushes themselves continually… until one day they simply crash (that was me).
  2. The sensitive person, often children and teens, who experiences a major life stress and never fully recovers, continuing to function sub-marginally.
  3. The over-caring ‘can’t say no’ mother or doting boyfriend who does everything for everyone except themselves, experiencing ongoing repeated stressors, never fully recovering proper adrenal function as their health declines
  4. The busy mother or solo business owner with too many responsibilities who just keeps going, gradually driving their adrenals into decline

Do you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios? Are some of these symptoms sounding familiar?

The road to recovery

Once the real cause of the problem is identified, the solutions usually become crystal clear. So it is essential that this first step of problem-identification is not missed!

In my experience, the real causes of the problem start years before any tiredness starts showing up. This is where things can get confusing for people, because these ’causes’ have often been overlooked.

They include events such as childhood traumas, ongoing life stressors and unresolved emotional upsets, as well as unhealthy habits such as pushing ourselves too hard on an ongoing basis, putting up with unkind behaviour from others, and basically putting ourselves at the bottom of our ‘to-do’ list.

All these facets of life need to be addressed to effect proper recovery, and with the right guidance this can be much easier than you may think, and take a lot less time than trying to do it all by yourself.

Take the free adrenal fatigue test

So how can you tell if you have adrenal fatigue?

Here are a few starting tips:

  1. If you haven’t felt well for a while, but have only been half noticing it and pushing on, complete the statement “I haven’t been well since….” and take a reality check. In order to improve any unwanted situation we MUST start where we are and recognize the truth of how things are right now, and isolate and identify the cause. Then we can move on to solutions from there.
  2. Read the list of symptoms at the top of this article and see if any of them sound familiar
  3. Take the free adrenal fatigue self-assessment to see if your adrenals may be fatigued
  4. Read the book ‘Adrenal Fatigue – 21st century stress syndrome’ – it’s not in bookstores but can be ordered directly from Kim
  5. Contact Kim for an in depth ‘Kiwi Health Detective session’ to determine the cause of your symptoms and plan your route back to health. This could be the most useful and life-changing 90 minutes you have spent in a long time.
  6. Check out Kim’s online programs for recovery from adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, ME, post viral fatigue, glandular fever, fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety, depression, insomnia and more.

The good news is, with understanding and commitment, full recovery IS possible, and it doesn’t have to take years.

About Kim

Kim KnightKim is a multi-award nominated health and personal transformation coach specializing in helping people identify and resolve the root cause of long-term illness and chronic unhappiness. She also specialises in stress reduction and emotional healing. Her ability to pinpoint the cause of health problems has earned her the title of ‘The Kiwi Health Detective’.

In 2012 her chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia recovery online series was nominated for the Waitakere Health Excellence Awards in New Zealand, following on from her nominaton for finalist in the Next New Zealand Woman of the Year Awards in 2011 for ‘contribution and innovation in health and science’.

Kim lives and works in Auckland, offering private coaching, workshops and trainings in person and remotely online via the web.

To learn how Kim may be able to help you identify and resolve the cause of your stress, pain or fatigue contact Kim at

If you would like to apply to work with Kim, the first step is to fill in this form here.

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Rothesay Bay
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New Zealand

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Legal Medical Disclaimer: Information and statements made on this website and all our associated literature are for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. David Holden & Holden Health Care do not dispense medical advice, prescribe restricted medicines, or diagnose disease. If you have a medical condition, we recommend that you consult your physician of choice.
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