What Happens During an Adrenaline Rush
- In certain stressful situations, the adrenal gland releases the hormone and neurotransmitter, adrenaline, into the bloodstream. When released, adrenaline gets the body ready to react quickly.
Adrenaline causes many physical reactions. The heart rate increases and pupils dilate. Less obvious, blood vessels constrict in the inner organs as more blood is sent to larger muscles. Also, more oxygen and glucose are sent to the brain.
Because of these reactions, the person experiencing the adrenaline rush may have symptoms similar to a panic attack--sweating, trouble breathing or shaking.
Events That Can Set Off a Reaction
- Adrenaline rushes can be set off by suddenly frightening or highly stressful situations. They can come from something expected, fun and purposeful like a roller coaster ride or a bungee jump. They may come from something unexpected and upsetting like a sudden loud nose, a person appearing where they were not a moment before, or a driver in front of you on the road suddenly slamming on their brakes. A buildup of other stressors can also cause an adrenaline rush. Extended periods of stress or noise can also trigger an attack.
Ways to Stop the Rush
- There are many methods that can be used to control an adrenaline rush.
General relaxation: By teaching your body to relax before an adrenaline rush happens, you can be ready to make your body relax when you feel an episode coming on. If you regularly practice breathing exercises or yoga, you can use those relaxation techniques should you feel an adrenaline rush coming on.
Cognitive Techniques: Since adrenaline rushes can be brought on by perceived danger, it can be helpful to learn how to think your way through the situation. By learning a bit about common cognitive distortions, you can determine what unrealistic thoughts may be causing the rush. When you can identify how your thought patterns are leading you to have an uncomfortable reaction, you can change your thought patterns and control the reaction.
General Stress Reduction: By keeping a healthy diet, exercising and being proactive about managing stress, you can lessen the chances of an adrenaline rush. When your body is in a healthy state and ready to handle stresses, it may be less likely to have an overreaction like an adrenaline rush.