Adrenaline, also called the fight or flight hormone, is a chemical substance released by the adrenal glands and certain neurons. The adrenal glands are otherwise referred to as the suprarenal glands and this terminology is indicative of their location within the human body. Being situated directly above the kidneys, the adrenal glands are endocrine glands that synthesize numerous other hormones apart from adrenaline, namely cortisol, noradrenaline and aldosterone.

While adrenaline is generally discharged during exciting occurrences to help the cells utilize sugar for fueling the body, some incidents result in a sudden overflow of this hormone into the blood and this phenomenon is known as an adrenaline rush. Examples include viewing a very scary movie, high-octane adventure activities such as sky diving, bungee jumping or witnessing a threatening incident in person. The defining indications of an adrenaline rush are rather obvious externally, such as trembling sensations, enlarged pupils and fast-paced beating of the heart. In most cases, adrenaline rush does not present with any serious complications, but on rare occasions, it could cause grave damage to the heart and induce chronic hypertension i.e. high blood pressure. It is hence important to understand the causes and symptoms of an adrenaline rush, along with effective treatment measures and useful management tips.
Adrenaline Rush


In the majority of instances, an adrenaline rush is triggered by activities that induce fear, excitement and abruptly elevate stress levels. These consist of adventure pursuits like cliff jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, high-speed roller-coaster rides in amusement parks and watching a scary movie at night or in a dark surrounding.

Nevertheless, in some cases, people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder also experience a sudden surge in adrenaline levels, when thinking about disturbing memories and incidents that happened in the past.

Also Read: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Another reason why adrenaline rush occurs is cancer or tumour growth in the adrenal glands. Although this type of cancer is very rare, it prompts a rapid spike in adrenaline levels in the body at odd times and presents with symptoms resembling a panic attack.

Also Read: Adrenal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment


The distinguishing indications of adrenaline rush instigate a rapid rise in energy levels in the body and comprise:

  • High and very swift rate of heartbeats
  • Incessant sweating
  • Sensory perceptions of smell, taste, touch are elevated
  • Sensitivity to painful feelings is reduced
  • Pupils become dilated
  • Experiencing nervousness and tension
  • Possessing more physical power and strength
  • Fast-paced breathing

Diagnosis And Treatment

Adrenaline rush in most situations does not require treatment, as the levels of the hormone gradually decrease once the fearful incident has passed. In case an individual has frequent episodes of an adrenaline rush, sometimes even at night impeding their sleep, then the doctor recommends healthy lifestyle practices. These consist of breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, reducing caffeine intake, avoiding smoking and alcohol, daily physical activity and wholesome, balanced diet.

However, in seldom instances, an adrenaline rush is a persistent condition that could result in grave damage to blood vessels, prompting heart disease, severe insomnia and even stroke. In such cases, when adrenaline rush prompts chest pain, breathing trouble and very rapid pulse, high blood pressure, professional medical treatment must be given at once. Thus the physician can diagnose the condition immediately and proper healthcare can be provided to ensure the complete recovery of the patient.