Is too much adrenaline a bad thing?


| 4 Comments
Last weekend, like nearly eight million other people, I watched daredevil Felix Baumgartner ride up 24 miles into the stratosphere on a hot air balloon and free-fall all the way back down to earth, breaking the sound barrier as he went. It was one of the most terrifying, incredible things I've ever seen. Now, I love a rush of adrenaline as much as the next guy; I enjoy roller coasters, carnival rides and even the occasional scary movie. That being said, I would never, in a million years, be able to skydive-- much less make a living out of it. Watching the Stratos jump made me wonder: is it possible to have too much adrenaline? I looked into the topic a bit and this is what I came up with:

Adrenaline, more formally referred to as epinephrine, is a hormone released by the adrenal glands at times of stress. It quickens the body's heart and breathing rates, carbohydrate metabolism, and basically prepares the body to take action-- commonly known as "fight or flight". Like all hormones in our bodies, there has to be a healthy balance to ensure that our day-to-day activities run smoothly. I would assume that constant adrenaline rush would work like a constant high from any drug. The body will get used to it and bit by bit, it will begin to demand more in order to experience its effects. This constant high-stress can't be good for the brain. Not to mention, should a thrill-seeker like Felix Baumgartner ever stop skydiving, wouldn't he experience withdrawal symptoms?

But yet, people like Felix continue to do dangerous, potentially life-threatening things, just to get a rush. How do all of you feel about this? Are any of you extreme thrill-seekers? More interestingly, have any of you gone skydiving? I'm interested to hear.

4 Comments

I find myself quite often looking for adrenaline rushes. What's the fun of something if it doesn't get your heart pumping and nerves twitching.

I do not necessarily agree with you that adrenaline on a consistent is bad for you. I do believe that when you are in these fight or flight situations your fine motor skills are for the most part shut down, but adrenaline does activate pretty much every muscle fiber you have in your body. This leads to increased strength and stability.

It also seems you may be confusing physical addiction with psychological. There are no studies showing that the more fight or flight situations you put yourself in the less effective adrenaline becomes. Remember adrenaline is there to prep you for an extraordinary circumstance. It increases hear rate, speeds up breathing, and activates muscle fibers that are usually dormant.

Symptoms with adrenaline rush

I,too,heard about the daredevil Felix Baumgartner's story.It almost drove me to think about some people have a quicker rate to secrete adrenline or their bodies are generally more responsive to adrenline hormones rather others.That explains why many people act out silly things out of "impulses" while the others will never roam "out of the box".Felix is obviously an adventurous guy who cares little about the physics and human limits.But on the other hand,I worried about him being too volative and fractitious in real life because of his quick-temper.
Continous drive on "fight or flight" state exhausts energies after a considerable amount of adrenline discharge.Too much party on Sunday nights result less attention on Monday school in most cases.Adrenline helps you survive at many occasions,but excessive adrenaline certainly impairs the judgement of mind which functions best at relaxation.

As I was looking up some information about adrenaline, I found a website (http://www.leadershipreview.org/2005winter/LencioniArticle.pdf) about a different type of adrenaline junky than we are thinking about. This article discusses an adrenaline junky in the work place. This is someone who can not stop working and feels the need to be going a hundred miles an hour at all times throughout the day. They feel like they are not going to get enough done if they are not franticly scurrying about doing as much as possible. This can be a problem just like the adrenaline seekers that we are thinking of. Just like the intense adrenaline rush that people like Felix have the need to feel, these "workplace" junkies have the same problem. It is interesting to compare and contrast these types of people in your head. While, they initially seem very different they actually have many similar characteristics. Their fixations may be different, but their addiction is the same.

I remember the day my friends and I were gathering around a laptop and watched this video of Felix Baumgartner who did this unbelievable free-fall back to the earth. To me, what he did was far beyond the word "incredible"...throughout the fact of jumping from the highest altitude and greatest free fall velocity...that was just unbelievable. I have to admit that while I watched the video, at the very second that he was about to jump off from the hot air ballon; my heartbeat was pumping really fast, I felt uneasy to breathe normally, and even my hands were sweating! So I came to a conclusion that I myself did experience some adrenaline rush from watching him jumping off as well. "Fight-or-flight" system allows not only human but animals to deal with all kinds of stressful events. Emotions during these events can her anger or even extreme joy of excitement. (yes! even joy can be stressful sometimes). When finding more information on the "side effects" of having too much adrenaline rush, I found an interesting topics on energy drinks and pills. It is true that these energy drinks provide us with energy to get through the day, however, adrenaline is somewhat the body's natural energy boost. According to a short article from The New York Times, which describes about side effects on energy drink. In fact, these drinks likely to increase serious health problems including heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and even cardiac arrest and death. Therefore, to my own conclusion, it is NOT a healthy lifestyle to consume these energy drinks due to the changing stage of energy by artificial stimulants. Since our brain is already exposed to a stimuli, half of which are not processed and by adding MORE stimuli for the brain to process, our brain will eventually become exhausted. This will cause us to have less energy to do a simple everyday tasks with an exhausted brain. Lastly, I'm totally agree with the point you mentioned about how constant adrenaline rush works exactly the same way as constant high from drugs. Once your body is used to it...you will eventually demand more later on. However, it is up to individual's choice to choose whatever they want to do with their lives. To me, I would NEVER perform such things like what Felix did! Speaking about skydiving, my friends just mentioned about this topic yesterday when we finished iceskating...and I rejected their invitation right away! :)

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