Re: Low Cortisol and High DHEA
Raja, here is the post that Chris posted on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder here on these boards.
I read every thread on here and no one mentioned hormones, so I will. I post in the Addison's Disease section, but today I decided to snoop around some.
Hormones become unbalanced when under stress and extreme stress (as with PTSD) will do it almost everytime.
Talking about hormones and PTSD is to involved for me to post here especially when I can just steer you with some search words.
Here they are--
PTSD Cortisol ------->stress hormone made in adrenal glands
The lower your cortisol level is before the PTSD the greater the likelyhood that you will end up with PTSD after a traumatic event. The event can then lower the cortisol level even more.
Hormones help with the brain with memorys. If you find yourself forgetting how to get places, or remembering names, feeling like your mind if in a fog since the PTSD, well that is the hormones doing that. Do you get sick easily since the event/PTSD? Maybe even severe respiratory problems (asthma) since the event/PTSD? If hormones go down, then immune system goes down too (hormones help immune system stay in peak effect. Ever wonder why an elderly person can die from a broken hip? Its because of the stress. The elderly and children do not make much cortisol and other hormones. The adrenal glands pump out greater amount of cortisol for a short time, then the cortisol production crashes, then the immune system collapses allowing any bacterial or viral bug to have free reign. The infection reaches the lungs (pnuemonia) or heart (attack).
If you can find a doctor to test you. I recommend looking for a Holistic doctor or Environmental doctor. An endocrinologist this really who you should see in a perfect world, but 90% will probably not test you and tell you to see a shrink.
A little hydrocortisone (synthetic cortisol) can go a long way towards feeling better, the hard part will be finding a doctor to listen, much less test you in the first place.
Why do I say that? Because doctors, especially psychiatrist think that all psychiatric problems have to be treated with fancy drugs. It is a know fact that most people with depression also have hypothyroidism which causes depression. When have you heard a shrink send you out for testing of any kind (minerals, vitamin and hormone deficiencies can cause depression)? Unless you are hospitalised it probably won't happen. Even then they might only be interested in you lithium level (all he cared about even though he had my cortisol level test and it was rock bottom and I could have died). Shrinks like to guess at what crazy drug might help and when that one doesn't work they guess at another and another. That is an insane practise of medicine.
How do I know so much you say? Well I had PTSD after experiancing a head on collision on a two lane highway. I had severe crazy nightmares like you wouldn't believe for 5 months (3 months into it a shrink diagnosed PTSD and precribed antidepressant that helps with sleep, seemed to help don't remember what it was), well maybe you would I don't know. Anyway, 10 years later after experiancing much health problems I was diagnosed with Secondary Addison's and secondary hypothyroid. I had diagnosed these conditions myself 9 months before that. I have over 200 hours researching hormones and I know well the connection hormones have to PTSD.
In the mean time while finding a doctor that can help you like I mentioned, take melatonin (an anti stress hormone made in the pineal gland (right next to pituitary), when it gets dark melatonin production increases) to help you sleep well (I recommend starting with 1 mg 1 to 3 hours before bed time and maybe go up to 3 or 6 mg if need). Start slow, and you may need to play with the doses and times. Don't drive after taking. Melatonin is better than sleeping pills or antidepressants (Elavil is a common one) as it is what the body uses to get to sleep. You should feel refreshed in the morning without the druged feeling that sleeping pills, benedryl (wife used to use until I switched her to melatonin) and antidepressants give.
Also take DHEA. DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands. DHEA is converted to cortisol. For PTSD I would recomend taking 25 mg per day the first week and increasing by 25 mg every week after that until you reach 100 mg / day. If you think it is helping but think 100 mg/day is not enough (a normal dose is 25 to 50 mg for men and 12 to 25 mg for women) read my post from the link below,
Read the books I mention in that post, especially the ones 5 lines below at the ++++++. You should investigate thoroughly any hormone, herbs, etc before taking. I also recommend you discuss these hormones with your primary physician too, in case there is a medical reason you should not take these. DHEA can cause undetected cancers in prostate, breast, ovaries to grow faster.You understand I won't be held responsible if you are hurt by these hormones (I've haven't heard of that though in all my research, not to say it hasn't happened), use responsibly and all should be ok.
Dhea A Practical Guide Ray Sahelian, M.D.
The Super Hormone Promise" same authors as
"The Melatonin Miracle" William Regelson, M.D., & Carol Colman.
As with all hormones you should slowly lower these over time when reducing the dose or getting of them completely. After reading these books, you might not want to stop taking them though, even if you get over the PTSD.
I know this is a lot to throw at you all, but you need to know this information.
I have "instant email notification" set on this thread so I'll know if you need my help.
I like to remind people that all they are is a bunch of chemicals which are hopefully in perfect balance (no one's perfect).
I hope this post helps and good luck
Chris in St. Louis