One of the questions we get asked most regularly is this, “How long will it take for me to recover from Adrenal Fatigue?” Unfortunately the answer is just not as simple as we might like it to be. An individual’s recovery from Adrenal Fatigue depends on several different factors, and I am going to outline them on this page.
Typically, recovery will take somewhere between 6 and 18 months, but there is a very wide variation between patients. Some may take less than 6 months, but others may take two years before they can really claim to have returned to normal.
It depends on the severity of the Adrenal Fatigue…
The first question to ask is what stage the individual has reached. If he or she is still on Stage 1 or 2 Adrenal Fatigue, where cortisol levels are still high, then a recovery may take very little time. If the condition is caused by temporary stress at work or bereavement, we can reasonably expect cortisol levels to return to normal once the stress has passed. In fact, many of us enter Stage 1 or 2 Adrenal Fatigue multiple times during our lives, only to pass out of it within a few months as the underlying cause disappears.
If the individual has reached Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue, treatment will likely take much longer. At these stages both the adrenal glands and the rest of the endocrine system are beginning to get severely fatigued, and production of at least a few of our hormones has started to flag. The diurnal cortisol cycle has begun to be disrupted. To rebuild adrenal strength requires lifestyle changes, a nutritious diet and proper supplementation. This takes some time, and you can anticipate the process taking at least 6 months.
For those of us deep into Stage 4, where levels of both the sex hormones and stress hormones have dropped substantially, treatment will take even longer. You should expect a treatment period of at least 12 months, possibly involving bio-identical hormone replacement as well as the dietary changes, lifestyle changes and supplementation mentioned above.
…And the willingness to change
As with most illnesses, much depends on the patient themselves. No matter how good the advice offered by their healthcare professional, if this advice is not followed then the patient will not see an optimal outcome.
For example, if an individual suffering from Adrenal Fatigue continues to eat junk food, declines to exercise properly (or over-exercises) and does not take the appropriate supplements, his treatment will inevitably require more time. On the other hand, an individual who follows all the recommendations of his healthcare professional can expect a much faster and better outcome.
This extends to more than just lifestyle and dietary choices. Patients also need to identify and eliminate the sources of stress in their lives. This can often be difficult, but it is a necessary part of restoring their health. Unhealthy relationships, stressful jobs, family quarrels, money worries – these all need to be eliminated somehow. Often a patient will feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders when these issues are fixed. As you would expect, that feeling also signifies a great deal of stress being taken off their adrenal glands and HPA axis too.
Addressing one stressor at a time is generally the best way to approach this. Identifying what makes you happy and what stresses you is the easy part, then begins the difficult part of making the changes that you need to make. This will often require a significant adjustment in outlook. For example, if a high-paying job is damaging your health, can you step off the corporate ladder and return to a simpler, more fulfilling life? And if a relationship has been causing you emotional stress for years, do you have the courage to pull the plug and start again? All these are issues that can hopefully be addressed with the support of family, friends and perhaps even a good therapist too.