Tag Archives: Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis

brains and addiction

Hypothalamus brain area and drug addiction

Hypothalamus brain area

Hypothalamus brain area and drug addiction has nothing in common and must be avoided at all cost

Hypothalamus brain area and drug addiction: Stress management

Of the components of the brain, the hypothalamus brain area often bears the greater risk of attack by substance abuse. This is the part responsible for several functions including body temperature regulations, hunger, thirst, and sleep. Besides these functions, the hypothalamus also helps in the interpretation of how we respond to stress. According to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under doctor Dalal Akoury MD President and founder of AWAREmed health and wellness resource center, it is almost impossible to talk about addiction without the mention of stress. Stress regulation is relevant to our understanding of addiction. And that is why we want to explore further into details the effects of addiction on the hypothalamus brain area alongside the regulation of stress and withdrawal.

When one is stressed up, the hypothalamus releases chemicals known as hormones which allow’ the brain and the body to respond to that stress. Unlike neurotransmitters (which are chemicals limited to the brain) hormones travel throughout the body via the blood system. It, therefore, means that hormones can exert an effect on other body systems as well. When these chemical hormones operate in the brain, we refer to them as neuromodulators. These hormones (neuromodulators) can act just like neurotransmitters in the brain. Like neurotransmitters, they have their own receptors associated with them.

Hypothalamus brain area and drug addiction: Stress the relapse trigger

It will interest you to note that stress is a relapse trigger to all users of drugs. It’s capable of prompting powerful cravings in addicted persons. I can, therefore, say with certainty that majority of us in one way or another have come across someone struggling with an addiction and tried quitting but ultimately relapsed when they became stressed out. Doctor Akoury says that under normal circumstances, at the beginning periods of recovery withdrawal symptoms often create stress and the vicious cycle continues. It is however very important to appreciate that stress will always prompt the addictive use, while efforts to discontinue use prompt stress.

During withdrawal, these stress hormones are elevated. Even though stress levels are high, the brain’s anti-stress neuromodulators appear to decrease, as do dopamine and serotonin in the nucleus accumbens. This suggests that withdrawal affected the reward system (evidenced by decreasing dopamine and serotonin). At the same time, withdrawal activates the stress and anxiety systems. This “1-2 punch” heightens the negative experience of withdrawal. This prompts people to seek relief via the addictive substance or activity (i.e., relapse).

In summary, the neurotransmitter pathways associated with the amygdala and the hypothalamus play a crucial role in sustaining the addiction process and this occurs through:

  • The negative emotional memory that is associated with drug withdrawal
  • The positive emotional memory that is associated with drug cues
  • The disruption that occurs to stress regulation
  • The pleasurable relief from withdrawal symptoms that occurs by resuming drug use or addictive activities

Finally, your good health depends heavily on how healthy your brain is. And that is why we recommend that from time to time, you should seek professional advice from experts so that corrective measures can be taken. Remember that this is in line with doctor Akoury’s profession and calling her now should be your starting point.

Hypothalamus brain area and drug addiction: Stress management



Adrenal Exhaustion Female sex addiction

Understanding Adrenal and weight loss:

Understanding Adrenal

Understanding Adrenal and weight loss essentially to make proper decisions about your health

Understanding Adrenal and weight loss: Physiological changes when stressed up

The demands of life have continually consumed out time and at times with a lot of stress. Real life situations that can be stressful may include illness, relationship difficulties, work struggles, caring for an aging parent or ailing child and many others. When they happen, they leave a strong physical impact. Because of this, many often turn to food for comfort, and sometimes, we may not nourish ourselves adequately along the way. And according to the experts at AWAREmed health and wellness resource center under the leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury MD when people are stressed, certain physical changes takes place including weight gain. Ideally, this may not happen overnight, but if we do not pay attention to our body’s needs, over time we may notice some additional pounds. And that is why our focus in this discussion is going to be on the understanding adrenal and weight loss. Did you know that our adrenal glands govern our stress response, by secreting hormones relative to our stress levels? They control many hormonal cycles and functions in the body. When the adrenal glands are overworked, the body prepares for disaster by storing fat and calories. We then crave for foods, lose precious energy, and we gain weight.

Understanding Adrenal and weight loss: How stress becomes physical

From the earliest days of dinosaurs and cavemen, nature has proven its ability to put fear in human beings. Life and death circumstances have evolved around the ability to understand the danger and seek protection and survival. If you were being chased by a predator, your adrenal glands initiated a “fight or flight” response, releasing adrenaline and cortisol into the body. These hormones provided extra physical energy and strength from stored carbohydrates and fats. While most of our stressors are not the same, our earliest ancestors, the body’s natural course of evolution has maintained this original fight-or-flight stress response. But whether we are being physically threatened or not, with any increased stress our body looks to its stored fuel and then replenishes it when used. Also, with increased levels of cortisol, our body also does not respond as well to leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, so we eat more.

Modern-day stress may be more psychological than physiological, but it is also more constant. Many of us face chronic stress as a way of life, which means we have consistently elevated levels of cortisol. Now the body thinks it continually needs extra fuel, and typically stores that as fat around the abdomen, or as it’s commonly referred to, the old “spare tire.”

Understanding Adrenal and weight loss: Belly fat a common sign of adrenal fatigue

Adrenal imbalance causes a number of issues, including an expanded waistline. The science behind it is quite interesting. Normally when we begin to feel hungry, our blood sugar drops and the brain sends a message to the adrenal glands to release cortisol which activates glucose, fats, and amino acids to keep our body fueled with energy until we eat. Cortisol maintains blood sugar levels, and insulin helps our cells absorb glucose. When we have long term stress, both insulin and cortisol remain elevated in the blood, and the extra glucose is stored as fat mostly in the abdomen which is why understanding adrenal is important.

Finally, doctor Akoury reiterates that fat cells have special receptors for the stress hormone cortisol and more receptors in our abdominal fat cells than anywhere else in our bodies. That is why belly fat is an active tissue, acting as an endocrine organ that responds to the stress response by welcoming more fat to be deposited. This is an ongoing cycle until we take steps to correct this adrenal imbalance. We will be looking into that progressively but in the meantime, you can schedule an appointment with doctor Akoury for further professional direction.

Understanding Adrenal and weight loss: Physiological changes when stressed up


Obesity an addiction

Upper body obesity and health complications

Upper body obesity

Upper body obesity and health complications can be addressed by simple physical activities and change of lifestyle

Upper body obesity and health: Stress response

There is no doubt that the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically over the past decades. This is now a global concern and more so the upper body obesity (UBO), which is associated with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), dyslipidemia, and hypertension. According to doctor Dalal Akoury MD, President and founder of AWAREmed health and wellness resource center, the associations describe the metabolic syndrome, a clustering of symptoms with insulin resistance as a core cause. Regrettably, the prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome is now above average deeming both conditions serious public health issues, requiring immediate professional redress. Now that I have set your mind thinking, if you are considering taking timely action, schedule an appointment with doctor Akoury today for the commencement of your recovery process. And as you make that consideration, let us now focus on the roles of HPA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal axis).

Upper body obesity and health: The role of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis

Speaking to the experts at AWAREmed health center, it is obvious that stress is a serious challenge to the natural homeostasis of an organism. Animals react to stress by producing a physiological stress response to regain equilibrium lost by the stressor. The stress response is characterized by acute behavioral and physical adaptations, including increased cognition, analgesia, gluconeogenesis, lipolysis, and inhibition of reproduction. Digging deeper, there are two major components of the stress response: the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which encompasses the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the HPA axis. These systems work centrally and peripherally to produce several responses. The ‘fight or flight response’ is an active reaction to either confront the stressor or escape confrontation.

The ‘defeat response’ is when the individual does not engage in either the fight or flight response and ultimately ‘loses’ the confrontation; this is the primary stress response in modern society and is associated with HPA axis changes. Although the ANS is a key element of the stress response, the purpose of this article is to discuss the role of the HPA axis in obesity and metabolic disease. Having said that, doctor Akoury reiterates that stress can be caused by external stressors such as employment or social strains or by intrinsic stressors such as sleep deprivation. Although an acute short-term stress response is necessary for homeostasis recovery, chronic or prolonged stress responses can be harmful and may cause several diseases stated above. A study on women reported that history of depression was associated with hyperactivity of the HPA axis and decreased bone mineral density. In the past 30 years, numerous studies have shown that obesity and other metabolic risk factors are associated with lower socioeconomic status, job strain, sleep deprivation, and depression.

Finally, and because of these factors, we can’t sit without doing something towards containing the prevalence of obesity and overweight. Guided by that great need, doctor Akoury made a passionate decision of creating this medical center primarily help in the transformation of each individual’s life through increasing awareness about health and wellness and by empowering individuals to find their own inner healing power. Out of this many have benefited and you too can if only you can let us know of your problems by calling us on telephone number 843 213 1480 and we will address all your concerns professionally.

Upper body obesity and health: Stress response


Misuse of alcohol

Ending alcohol abuse using alternative treatment

Ending alcohol abuse

Ending alcohol abuse using alternative treatment to avoid stocking more chemicals in the body system

Ending alcohol abuse using alternative treatment: The HPA Axis

Consumption of alcohol is a problem which has kept the global society thinking. There are two different schools of thoughts depending on the interest represented. The interest of health and that of generating revenue, and for the purpose of this article we will focus on the interest of health and the possible solutions that come with ending alcohol abuse. Several types of research have been done and conclusions made. One of the finds was that the “home” of alcoholism resides in the HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) axis of the neuroendocrine system, to this effect scientists have developed extremely sophisticated tests which monitor the performance of this axis under various conditions by measuring:

  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin, GABA
  • Glutamate
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline)
  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
  • Cortisol
  • DHEA

Professionally, doctor Dalal Akoury MD, President, and founder of AWAREmed Health Center reiterates that these are known neurotransmitters and two key hormones which define either the health of the neuroendocrine system or its state and depth of illness. To better understand the root of this phenomenon we will go into it a little more in detail regarding genetic addictive biochemistry and active addiction and how they affect the HPA axis. But in the meantime, you can direct all your alcoholism concerns to the experts at AWAREmed health for a timely treatment action.

Ending alcohol abuse using alternative treatment: The hypothalamus

The endocrine system is the network of glands in the body comprised of the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, adrenals, thyroid, parathyroid and the sex glands; ovaries and testes. These glands secrete hormones throughout the body to each and every organ via the blood which is received by their complimentary receptors. Hormones are “messengers” which carry messages coded by our DNA with the intention of keeping an organ regulated and healthy, essentially functioning as it should.  A hormone’s message will stimulate, suppress or maintain the functional cell or tissue activity of the organ it is received by.

The hypothalamus is the centerpiece of the endocrine system and is located in the middle of the base of the brain. The purpose of the hypothalamus is to establish and maintain homeostasis; balance within the body. It regulates all the functions of the autonomic system of breathing, heart rate, etc… but also hunger, thirst, sexual drive, sleep urination and metabolism which includes blood sugar control.

Although technically hypothalamus is part of the endocrine system it is really central to both the endocrine and nervous system; in fact, it is in the hypothalamus that these two extremely complex systems of the body intersect. As the Master Accountant, the hypothalamus performs checks and balances and responds to chemical messages of deficient or excess by sending various hormones and neurotransmitters to “adjust” to the requirements of your internal and/or external environments to maintain status quo. The hypothalamus is able to do this because it houses receptor sites for both hormones from the endocrine system and neurotransmitters from the nervous system and it utilizes the information it receives from those sites to do its job of not only controlling the entire endocrine system, including having a profound influence on the liver, heart, and kidneys, but establishing healthy brain chemistry and nervous system performance by correcting neurotransmitter imbalances by either slowing production of what is in excess, ingesting or degrading them faster, or in cases of deficiency, producing and releasing them as required.

Ending alcohol abuse using alternative treatment: The HPA Axis


Addicted brain

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking

Mesolimbic pathway

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking. Hypothalamus area of the brain and drug addiction.

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain

From our basic understanding of the purpose and functioning of the brains reward system in the previous postings, we can interrogate it a little bit further in several ways. The circuit most associated with pleasure and reward is the mesolimbic pathway which is located in the brainstem. The objective of this area of the brain is primarily concerned with basic survival. Within the mesolimbic pathway is an area called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA projects to the nucleus accumbens (thought to be the reward center). The neurotransmitter most commonly linked with the mesolimbic system is dopamine. Many people consider dopamine to be the driving force behind the human pursuit of pleasure. The release of dopamine is a pleasurable sensation. The release of dopamine motivates us to repeat behaviors or activities that prompted this release. This system’s purpose was to promote survival by rewarding life sustaining behaviors such eating and procreation.

All addictive drugs and activities release varying amounts of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens with stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine releasing the most. However when it comes to drugs like alcohol or heroin, the brain’s own opiate system (endorphins) also gets involved. Doctor Akoury further says that even though different forms of addictions have different effects in the nucleus accumbens, they share one common denominator that they all activate the reward system which in turn motivates us to repeat those behaviors, even though they may be harmful. Besides what we have discussed about the concepts of reward, pleasure, and craving together, it is however very important to appreciate that there is a distinction between pleasure-seeking and drug seeking. Note that pleasure-seeking is all about the pleasurable, rewarding aspect of addiction while drug-seeking refer to the craving aspect of addiction. Dopamine may be more involved in drug-seeking (craving) component of addiction. The opiate (endorphin), GABA, or glutamatergic systems may be more involved in pleasure-seeking aspect of addiction too.

Pleasure-seeking and drug-seeking (cravings) are inter-related, yet distinct. Research has established that natural rewards (food, water, sex) typically lessen their influence on the reward system over time. As a behavior occurs more often, dopamine levels tend to decrease in the process. Psychologists call this habituation. This makes sense. Once you’ve eaten enough food, you don’t need to be rewarded for eating more food. Then you would be eating too much, or too much of one type of food. Therefore everyone needs to take heed of keeping the brain free from all attacks be it from substances or otherwise. Talking to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury should be your starting point. Call and make that appointment today for the commencement of your journey to full recovery from your addiction.

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain