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The adrenaline is defined as a polyvalent substance which fulfills two functions in the body: hormone and neurotransmitter. It is known as the activation hormone because it activates the most instinctive survival mechanisms of the human being. However, if not managed properly, adrenaline can cause anxiety states and illnesses such as chronic stress .

The story of Angela Cavallo , a woman from the United States, is worth noting . In 1892, his son Tony was repairing his car in his home garage when the cat failed and the young man was trapped under the car. Angela Cavallo weighed just 65kg, but she was able to lift the 1,500kg car. A true feat in which adrenaline allowed him to fight for the survival of his son.

What is adrenaline and what is it for?

Adrenaline, also called epinephrine , is a substance present in the human body that is responsible for regulating various processes and functions of the body. It is on the one hand a hormone that is transported through the bloodstream to reach all the tissues of the body. And, on the other hand, adrenaline is a neurotransmitter.

Therefore, adrenaline is a substance that the body produces naturally. It does this in the adrenal glands , which are located in the upper part of the kidneys. However, laboratories can also synthesize it to develop various drugs that doctors use in emergencies.

The truth is that it is one of the most important substances in the body, which is of great importance in many basic processes for human survival . In general terms, we can point out that adrenaline is the activation hormone, which gives us an idea of ​​what its functions are.

It predisposes people to react quickly, making the most of our muscular system when it is vitally important to move at high speed due to the lurking of a certain danger. Therefore, this hormone is essential to prepare for those situations that require being alert both physically and mentally.

How does adrenaline work?

First, it is interesting to note that the active half-life of adrenaline is approximately two minutes, although its effects can actually last for about an hour.

This substance is secreted as a result of situations that cause an abnormal reaction on the part of the body : fear, phobia, extreme joy, etc. It then sends a series of signals through the sympathetic nervous system to various organs in the body.

Through the blood, adrenaline reaches the various organs. In the liver it releases glycogen stores , thus enhancing the performance of the muscular system. As for the heart, the force of ventricular contraction increases at the same time as the heart rate increases.

In addition, it favors the secretion of saliva , tears and gastric juice. It also decreases the secretion of sweat.

Mechanisms of action of adrenaline

When the body releases adrenaline, a set of biological mechanisms are set in motion.

  • Situational awareness: it is known as such the fact that the brain focuses solely and exclusively on the same thing. All attention is focused on the situation to which it is necessary to react.
  • Which senses to use: depending on the situation, the brain must choose which senses it is going to enhance.
  • Pupil dilation : one of the most important and immediate effects of the release of adrenaline is that the pupils dilate.
  • Dilation of the blood vessels: adrenaline dilates the blood vessels and increases the heart rate. In this way, the heart is able to pump more blood so that more oxygen reaches the muscles, thereby increasing the reaction capacity.

Effects of adrenaline

The adrenaline does not act globally on the body. The reason is that there is no mechanism as such that activates alertness in a comprehensive way. Instead, it travels to different areas of the body, causing different effects in them that, as a whole, give rise to that state of alertness and activation.

It is interesting to know what the different effects of adrenaline are . They occur when this substance is secreted in high amounts in the body.

Dilates blood vessels

One of the effects of adrenaline is that the blood vessels of vital organs for survival dilate, at the same time that those that are closer to the superficial layer of the skin are reduced. Thus, with high levels of adrenaline, blood pressure tends to increase.

Dilate the pupils

One of the best-known effects of adrenaline is that it noticeably dilates the pupils. This is a completely normal reaction because more light enters this way , so that you have a greater awareness of everything that happens around you.

Break down glycogen

Adrenaline favors the breakdown of glycogen , the energy stored in the body for when you need an extra effort on a physical and mental level.

Higher heart rate

This substance makes the heart rate faster, so that the human body is more prepared to perform any type of effort more easily. And is that, by pumping more blood , the muscles have more oxygen and can carry out greater efforts.

That is why in dangerous situations, in which the body becomes alert thanks to adrenaline, people are able to run faster and make efforts that would otherwise be impossible.

Increase your breathing rate

Adrenaline causes the rate of both inspiration and expiration to increase dramatically. Thus, the blood is oxygenated better and it is possible to perform more both physically and mentally.

Reduces intestinal transit

Another effect of adrenaline is that it noticeably slows down the intestinal rhythm. The reason is that this process consumes a large amount of energy, which is necessary to carry out other processes in alert situations. Thus, most of the body’s energy is concentrated in the muscular system .

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Increase sensitivity to the stimuli

One of the most common psychological effects of adrenaline is that it increases sensory perception to any external stimulus. Something logical in a situation of alert, in which it is essential to be aware of everything that happens around.

Activation hormone

It is worth noting that everyone generates certain levels of adrenaline when they go about their daily activities . However, in the vast majority of cases it is a very low dose that does not produce any type of effect.

However, there are those who seek a great feeling of well-being . And for this they carry out various activities that favor the production of higher levels of adrenaline by the body: watching a horror movie, practicing extreme sports such as skydiving, etc.

Adrenaline is released in situations of stress as well as danger and excitement . That is why it is also called an activation hormone since it helps the body to activate itself in any type of situation.

Adrenaline and sport

There are different activities in which it is necessary to perform very fast movements, such as boxing or tennis. Well, in them it is important to achieve the release of adrenaline in order to increase the reaction speed. In this way, better sports performance is achieved.

In addition, as we have pointed out, one of the effects of adrenaline is that it dilates the airways . Thus, this substance is of great help in those sports in which it is necessary to get the most out of the muscular system.

There are some activities such as cycling where adrenaline spikes at specific times. It is important to differentiate the adrenaline-related effects that are sought with the practice of different sports.

In extreme sports , participants are looking for a very fast adrenaline rush. Meanwhile, in endurance sports, the main objective is to keep adrenaline under control until a certain moment, such as achieving a goal in a soccer game.

Adrenaline and stress

One of the most negative effects of adrenaline is that it can promote the development of what is called chronic stress . It is a disease that arises as a result of stress in different areas of life. From a medical point of view, it is defined as the accumulation of two hormones in the blood: adrenaline and cortisol.

Any situation that generates discomfort on a physical or mental level causes the brain to react by perceiving a danger and release adrenaline. It is then when people, noticing these threats, must act in an appropriate way.

However, this is not always the case, so that adrenaline accumulates, thereby generating various changes in the body : tachycardia, hypertension, constipation , etc. Disorders that significantly harm health, and that can sometimes even put life at risk.

Medical uses of adrenaline

This substance was synthesized in a laboratory for the first time in history in 1904. In the medical field it is used in extremely serious situations , in which the patient’s life is in danger. Its use is common in cases of anaphylaxis, when the patient suffers a severe allergic reaction.

The Epinephrine is also used to address cardiorespiratory stops and for treating various types of arrhythmias . This substance greatly stimulates the heart, thus increasing the heart rate.

Another of the most common uses for adrenaline is in combination with local anesthetics such as lidocaine. The reason is that it constricts the blood vessels in the area, thus favoring a longer duration of the anesthesia effect.

Adrenaline excess

Excessively high levels of adrenaline can be harmful to health, and even lead to different medical problems that require urgent attention.

The most common consequences of excess adrenaline are three. On the one hand, hypertension , especially in adults. On the other hand, a headache of great intensity, which hinders the ability both to concentrate and to pay attention. And finally, an increase in body temperature.

In addition to the physical consequences, adrenaline spikes can cause symptoms very similar to those of an anxiety attack : nausea, tremors, insomnia , blurred vision, etc.

Nowadays, there are many people who remain very active throughout the day, generally due to excessive tasks at work. Well, it is important to remember that this situation is not at all healthy if it continues in the medium and long term. The body needs to rest , so it is important to pay attention to any type of signal that signals the need to slow down.

Pontius syndrome, adrenaline addiction

The syndrome Pontius is defined as an abnormality in the central nervous system that inhibits the control that a person may have against any kind of danger. Those who suffer from this disease have an altered perception of danger, so they carry out extreme activities to feel happy, although they are not really aware of the danger they pose.

That is why those who suffer from Pontius syndrome are also known as “sensation seekers . ” They are not aware of the danger to which they are subjected by performing various activities

The reason is that they have a biological need to release large amounts of adrenaline . It is a relatively rare pathology that occurs in people addicted to adrenaline.

People who suffer from Pontius syndrome should not be confused with those who play extreme sports . And it is that athletes are aware of the danger, so they take all necessary precautions to minimize risks. In contrast, patients with this disease carry out their activities without knowing the danger involved, so they do not take any kind of precaution.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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