You’ve probably heard the term “adrenaline junkie” and laughed it off. We all know a daredevil who’s always up to new antics. Sky diving, bungy jumping, things of that nature. But did you know that adrenaline addiction is a genuine, psychological condition? Did you know it can put people in extreme danger?
Adrenaline can be just as addicting as drugs, drinking, or smoking cigarettes, according to professionals. Sometimes the symptoms are hard to spot.
What is Adrenaline Addiction?
Adrenaline addiction, though not formally recognized as a mental health disorder, is a compulsive behavior in which an individual habitually seeks out situations that will provide a rush of adrenaline.
The reason for this is that when adrenaline, which is a powerful hormone, surges in an individual’s brain, they experience a state of heightened senses. People experience increased heart rate, increased strength, and decreased pain. Many find the reaction to be pleasurable, a natural high.
That high can be extremely addicting and challenging to stay away from for individuals who enjoy the sensation.
Why is Adrenaline Addiction Dangerous?
Being “addicted” to adrenaline can have serious adverse effects on the body, both physically and mentally. When adrenaline surges, so do cortisol, the stress hormone. Prolonged periods of heightened cortisol levels have been shown to have adverse effects on the heart and central nervous system.
Furthermore, those who seek out rushes of adrenaline often do so through participating in risky behaviors. Reckless driving, gambling, dangerous stunts, engaging in physical altercations, substance abuse, and promiscuous sex are a few examples. These behaviors can have serious long-term consequences.
What to Do if You or a Loved One is Struggling
If you find yourself compulsively seeking out situations that provide you with an adrenaline rush, or engaging in risky behaviors for the thrill, you must seek the help of a professional. Compulsive behavior is often a secondary symptom of other mental health disorders than can be effectively managed.