What is Adrenaline Addiction?
Adrenaline is a central component of an animal’s flight or fight response that kicks in when danger is sensed. Adrenaline causes one’s heart rate and blood pressure to increase, increased sweating, and increased blood in the organs and muscles. Despite this being part of a core evolutionary strategy for survival and avoiding danger, many people find the sensation pleasurable, and they can even grow addicted to it over time.
But adrenaline isn’t only released in potentially dangerous or life-threatening situations. Highly stressful and demanding careers can create a powerful supply of adrenaline. At times, people may seek out or try to trigger adrenaline rushes on the job to help push back feelings of boredom, emptiness, anxiety, or a perceived lack of power or control in their lives. There are many examples of adrenaline-seeking behaviors that can be witnessed in the workplace:
Becoming a workaholic and experiencing adrenaline rushes can come hand in hand, especially in fields that are dangerous or fast-paced. For example, a surgeon may feel a rush of adrenaline before or after going through a complicated procedure. A lawyer, meanwhile, may get an adrenaline rush during an intense hearing at court. Over time this can cause behaviors of workaholism as these people seek out more adrenaline rushes.
Entrepreneurs and company owners may choose to take on risky business ventures to trigger an adrenaline boost. This behavior could include taking on more projects than they can reasonably handle or buying a company they can’t afford.
Competitive work environment
Many people with an addiction to adrenaline may prefer operating within intensely competitive work environments. While a bit of competition never hurts, this can potentially develop into angry or abusive interactions with one’s coworkers. Employers and business owners should watch out for the negative impacts this can have on otherwise productive work teams.
Related: Building Trust In The Workplace
Adrenaline Addiction in the Workplace
Adrenaline addiction often shows up in the workplace as an addiction to crisis management. People at all levels of an organization can get so used to putting out fires that they become addicted to the adrenaline rush of trying to get huge projects done in a short amount of time or having to solve endless problems last minute. This can often be due to the following poor team habits:
- Poor communication, leaving team members to guess what needs to be done
- Micromanaging, causing delays in work getting done or having to start over when something isn’t “perfect”
- Unclear desired outcomes set by leaders who change their mind and don’t want to take responsibility for failure
- Siloed functions or divisions that make self-serving decisions without consulting other impacted functions
While crisis management can make a person feel like they’re being extra productive and can give an adrenaline addicted person a rush, it’s not a good strategy long term, neither for health nor for business. To eliminate a culture of crisis management in the workplace, try the following tips:
- Create cross-functional leadership teams focused on problem-solving and understanding each other’s constraints and needs.
- Communicate clearly and effectively, checking for understanding, and including everyone who might be affected by the project or communication
- Create and communicate clear outcomes focused not just on the tasks to be done but the end goal of what the task should accomplish
- Create proactive recovery plans for a project including everything the team can think of that might go wrong. This way, when roadblocks come up, you’ll be prepared to deal with them.
- Surface potential issues before they become a crisis. Don’t let mistakes or unexpected circumstances exist for too long before telling the team. The team should be prepared to expect mistakes and problem-solve for them, rather than assign blame and point fingers.
How Can Adrenaline Hinder Productivity?
When one seeks out adrenaline as part of an addiction, it can significantly impede their work performance and ability to concentrate on their job. It also has the potential to endanger and even outright sabotage stable workplace relationships. All of this can result in impediments to a company’s reputation and overall success in the long term.
That, however, is mainly about the average or “normal” employees who develop an adrenaline addiction. If a boss, owner, or supervisor develops such an addiction, the ramifications to a business can be even more severe. They may take risky moves that can lose clients, staff and even result in a need to file bankruptcy.
Causes of Adrenaline Addiction
One part of this addiction’s development may have something to do with the fact that adrenaline is closely connected to dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter that gives one a feeling of motivation, pleasure, and wellness. Dopamine is a component of many addictions, and it helps to explain the potential pleasure that those with an adrenaline addiction are seeking. However, like most other addictions, adrenaline addiction is also heavily related to the desire to escape, forget, or ignore various issues that one may be experiencing.
The probability of developing an adrenaline addiction is also related to various mental health conditions, such as mania, anxiety, depression, trauma, and more. Those experiencing these types of conditions may use adrenaline rushes to help them escape the pain, frustration, and fear that the conditions may cause in their daily lives.
Adrenaline Addiction Treatment
It can be challenging to know that you have an addiction, and it can be even harder to accept that there is a problem happening because of it. Once you have opened yourself up to these facts and have decided that you’d like to change, there are several approaches you may take to help you move beyond the limits of your addiction. Overcoming an adrenaline addiction is essentially a matter of discovering and using new and better ways to take accountability and manage unpleasant emotions or experiences that addiction to adrenaline can conceal.
Ensuring that you get good quality sleep every night is crucial for overcoming addiction. Sleep affects every system taking place in your body and mind, so it’s essential to get quality sleep. Doing so can help you feel balanced, in control, and even assist in exercising self-discipline.
Exercise makes you feel stronger and centered, and it also impacts how your brain operates. Participating in regular exercise can help ease the root causes of adrenaline addiction, especially if it stems from anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help you avoid succumbing to the desire for adrenaline at work and engaging in self-destructive behavior.
Always be sure to eat a balanced diet of mostly whole foods like meat, vegetables, and fruit, and try not to consume too much processed sugar, candy, or soda. Eating sugary foods, and especially snacking on them all day, can cause peaks and drops in blood sugar, which could make you far more likely to succumb to temptations of engaging in adrenaline-inducing behaviors at work. This is because low blood sugar often makes people cranky and tired, causing them to seek a distraction or escape. Reducing your addiction to sugar and caffeine can help you regulate your blood sugar and maintain stable moods and energy throughout the day.
Journaling can help people explore their thoughts and work through whatever kinds of issues are going on in their lives. Taking the time to record your feelings and thoughts may help you find ways of overcoming your need for adrenaline.
Guided meditation can be a great start in helping those with an adrenaline addiction train their brain to avoid and overcome the temptation of adrenaline-seeking behaviors in the workplace. Over time, some may even replace the need for an adrenaline rush with meditation and relaxing breathing.
Are you looking to improve your workplace environment by building better, stronger, and more effective teams? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out B STATE to learn about how their top-quality services can help.