When your body is telling you that it is not well, either by the symptoms you are feeling or as a result of medical tests the physician is often turned to to prescribe something to make the symptoms go away or to make the test results line up. We frequently neglect to recognize the impact of stress on how our body functions.
In the case of the endocrine system, “When the body is stressed, the hypothalamus signals the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary gland and the process is started to produce epinephrine and cortisol, sometimes called the “stress hormones.”
Adrenal Glands (near kidneys)
Stress signals from the hypothalamus cause the adrenal cortex to produce cortisol and the adrenal medulla to produce epinephrine. This starts the process that gives your body the energy to run from danger.
When cortisol and epinephrine are released, the liver produces more glucose, a blood sugar that would give you the energy for “fight or flight” in an emergency. For most of you, if you don’t use all of that extra energy, the body is able to reabsorb the blood sugar, even if you’re stressed again and again. But for some people — especially people vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes — that extra blood sugar can mean diabetes. Who’s vulnerable? The obese and races more inclined to diabetes, such as Native Americans.
Studies show that if you learn how to manage stress, you can control your blood sugar level, sometimes nearly as much as with medication.” (American Psychological Association, 2017)
Psychotherapy is one of the ways that we can manage our stress, lower the levels of stress hormones in our system and regulate our endocrine system which will lead to better overall health.