After en addiction it's safe to say, that we have experienced a traumatic level of stress - psychologically as well as physically. The thing is, that just because we no longer expose ourselves to the original stressors, we often get caught in the negative feedback loop which is the underlying biochemical cause of what we call "Chronic stress".
When we get caught in this negative feedback loop, we continually pump cortisol into our system.
Over time, these raised cortisol levels can cause major functions in the body to shut down: our immune, digestive and endocrine systems start to falter, and we experience burn-out (adrenal exhaustion). Our memory function becomes impaired and we get moody.
We might also see body fat start to build up due to the physiological effects of out-of-whack stress hormones.
HPA dysfunction is the biochemical basis of stress. And it is closely tied to neurotransmitter imbalance.
HPA consists of 3 parts: adrenals + hypothalamus +pituitary.
HPA regulates functions such as stress response, mood, digestion, immune system, libido, metabolism and energy levels.
When cortisol and norepinephrine are chronically overproduced, the HPA axis eventually becomes desensitized to the negative feedback telling it to “calm down”, leading to chronic stress on the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands.
How do you break the feedback loop in chronic stress often following addiction?
- Reset the stress hormones with Adaptogenic herbs: think Ashwagandha, Maca, Gotu kola, Astragalus
- Electromagnetic stabilization by reconnecting to nature: walking barefoot has a strongly stabilizing effect on the central nervous system - and it's totally free. You need to walk barefoot on earth/grass/sand though to benefit from the electromagnetic balancing properties.
- Limit cell-phone and radiation: shown to put us into a chronic state of slight stress, as it pushes us into the sympathetic nervous system. Over time, this makes us vulnerable to a break down, as we never quite relax and rejuvenate.
- Eat good bacter ia (and feed them): a good gut health is essential for neurotransmitter balance and thus our stress resilience level in order to rebalance cortisol. Think fermented food like kimchi, kombucha and live yogurt. Also think prebiotics, Prebiotics are carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the human body. They are food for the good bacteria already present in your gut. Prebiotics are found in foods like banana, garlic, onion, chikory root, dandelion greens, artichokes, asparagus and leeks. And also in wheat types like Spelt and Emmer. I don't recommend normal wheat these days, as it has been highly modified, so it is difficult on the digestion for anyone. However, the current fad of no-grains is not the issue here. Just choose original grain varieties, unless you have specific conditions where your gut first needs to be repaired is generally fine.