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.