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The human body is a fascinating machine. Not only does it heal itself and perform amazing tasks, but it grows and develops all on its own. It’s not surprising, then that some people use their own bodies to create a natural high in place of drugs. It’s called adrenaline, and our bodies naturally make it, but just like drugs, alcohol, and other things, people can become addicted to it.
A Hormone for Defense
Adrenaline, or epinephrine, is a hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies. It is the key component to the “fight or flight” reaction that is so common in nature. When we are faced with a dangerous or scary situation, our body instantly releases adrenaline. It sends our body into protection mode. Adrenaline in the bloodstream causes the heart to race, blood pressure to rise, and pupils to dilate. The result is that we receive a huge boost of strength and our reflexes become faster. A person or animal confronted with stress or danger will naturally release adrenaline into the bloodstream, giving them the strength and instincts to fight for their life or flee to safety.
When we are under the influence of adrenaline, we may feel satisfied, powerful, or high. Coming down from an adrenaline high, we may feel weak, depressed, or wanting the high feeling again. Sound familiar? These are the same effects that many drugs have on our system. We naturally want the good feelings, the high feelings, and sometimes people will do drugs to get that, while others participate in adrenaline-stimulating activities.
Adrenaline junkies crave the high that is caused by doing something thrilling or dangerous. Skydiving, skateboarding, skiing, racing, and extreme sports are just some examples of things that cause adrenaline to rise.
The problem comes when a person is addicted to the high feeling, and therefore continuously does these things to get that high. Someone so concerned with how to get their next adrenaline fix will have a hard time fulfilling their relationship with loved ones.
Even though adrenaline is a natural substance, the over-focus on it is not healthy. Like in everything, moderation is better than going to extremes, and a balance needs to be kept between the different aspects of our lives. Sometimes adrenaline junkies will turn to substance abuse to help get that high. Others will create their own stress by becoming confrontational with others or stirring up turmoil.
Help for Adrenaline Addicts
There are support groups for adrenaline junkies. Adrenaline Addicts Anonymous is one group that helps people recover from this kind of addiction. In some cases, professional help may be necessary for someone to refocus on more important things in life.