The release of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is a process that our bodies do during situations involving fear or stress. Whether it’s jumping out of a plane, being attacked by a bear, or studying for finals, everyone produces it one way or another and there is no way of escaping its effects.
When adrenaline is released, our body adapts by increasing metabolism rates to burn fat, more glucose is consumed by our brain, our pupils dilate to allow more light to pass through, thus enabling us to perceive more of our surroundings, our muscles tense to give us more strength, our bodies divert our attention away from pain so we feel virtually nothing, and the release of noradrenaline and cortisol, which are stress hormones, are also dispersed throughout our body. Basically, when we undergo an adrenaline rush, we become, in a way, a superhuman and we feel as if we can do anything and everything while the effects are taking place.
Despite the fact that everyone experiences the same biological effects when epinephrine is released, not everyone acquires this rush by doing the same things. Some may feel an adrenaline rush when they are riding a rollercoaster while others may have to risk their lives in order to trigger the same response.
And sometimes this desire to obtain an adrenaline rush can be difficult to come by.
When people are faced with this epidemic, they tend to do things that most people wouldn’t even consider. It’s these “adrenaline junkies” that cause people to think about the effects of adrenaline and wonder why this hormone is addicting in the first place?
As stated by Andrew Well, M.D.,
The “high” you get from these dangerous activities is similar to the high you would get from cocaine or amphetamine (speed), only more so. The effect of these stimulants is to flood the brain with dopamine; an adrenaline high is similar…People can become addicted to the risk and may have to keep raising the limits to get the reward they seek.
The addictiveness of adrenaline can be further explained by listening to this. In this recording, you will learn how the rush of going undercover has caused many FBI agents wanting it to do it again and again just so they can obtain that feeling.
So the next time you find yourself in a situation that causes you to release epinephrine, just remember that the things taking place in your body during that rush are roughly the same things that would occur if you were taking meth.
For a quick explanation of what adrenaline is and the effects it has on the body, refer to this video.