The Exhaustion Epidemic

My Parents Made Me Do It
We can also learn addictive behavior from our families as we're growing up. Joan's parents, for example, would give her chocolate as a treat or reward on special occasions. Since it reminds her of the simple pleasures of childhood, Joan still comforts herself with hot chocolate or a candy bar binge when times get rough. Many children are raised on sugared cereals and soft drinks full of caffeine and sugar, leaving them hooked. Jerry's experience is another case in point: his teenage friends smoked cigarettes, so he joined them to fit in and look cool. Now, at age forty, he is an addicted smoker.

We are living unnatural lifestyles that lead to excessive stress and use of stimulants. The neurotransmitter dopamine, from which we make adrenaline and noradrenaline, is released when we are stressed or use stimulants. Motivating and pleasurable, stimulants generate energy by mobilizing glucose. As a result, stimulants make us more alert, energized, cheerful, or even high. These include sugar, chocolate, tea, coffee, cigarettes, caffeinated drinks, amphetamines, and cocaine. Downregulation quickly steps in to stop the fun. As a result, we need more and more of the stimulant to feel good and to maintain our energy levels. This leads to a vicious cycle of stimulant dependence and fatigue. Fatigue (and resultant stimulant cravings) can have many sources, including poor sleep and diet, chronic infection, and hormone imbalances. Since the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol lead to release of dopamine, we can become addicted to our own feel-good hormones, so we create more stress to keep the cycle going.


From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright © Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks