Why Empaths Are at Risk for Adrenal Fatigue


Are you an empath? Take the test here to determine your empath score.

Take the test >


Empaths Survival GuideAs a psychiatrist I treat many empath patients who come in exhausted with a syndrome known as adrenal fatigue. This is a collection of symptoms such as exhaustion, body aches, anxiety, trouble thinking clearly, and insomnia. In this condition, the theory is that the adrenal glands can’t keep up with outside stress so the hormones such as cortisol that normally keep you energized begin to get depleted.

In my books, “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “The Power of Surrender,” I discuss the very real situation of empathic illnesses where empaths literally take on the stress\ and symptoms of others. Unfortunately, conventional medicine doesn’t have a context with which to understand this and many empaths are left in the lurch or misdiagnosed. Because empaths can be emotional sponges and take on the literal symptoms of others, it adds to their stress levels and leaves them more vulnerable to adrenal fatigue. To learn more about Empathic Illnesses including strategies to stop absorbing other people’s toxic energy read the chapter “Harmonizing with Illness & Pain” in my book.

Here are some solutions for empaths to treat adrenal fatigue that can turn your symptoms around and restore your energy. But remember, for empaths this isn’t a one-time fix—it requires some basic life style and diet changes so that you can effectively manage your energy over the long term.

Strategies to Relieve Adrenal Fatigue

  • Get a blood test to measure your cortisol levels.
  • Consider temporary natural cortisol replacement per your physician’s recommendation.
  • Get as much rest as you can on a regular basis (sleep is very healing and restorative!).
  • Eliminate the energy vampires in your life or at least set clear limits and boundaries with them so they don’t chronically sap you.
  • Eat a natural whole food diet and avoid junk food
  • Add Himalayan Red Salt to your diet and get rid of low quality salts (always check with your physician if your blood pressure is high).
  • Avoid white flour and other toxic grains
  • Minimize your sugar intake
  • Gentle exercise and stretching—gradually build up stamina and challenge yourself as your energy increases
  • Meditate: Use the three minute surrender to your heart meditation in The Power of Surrender to take mini breaks throughout your busy day to replenish yourself
  • Take 2,000-5000 mg Vitamins C orally every day
  • Consider IV Vitamin C drips (10-25,000mg) delivered intravenously that can jump start your energy level and support adrenal health (holistic physicians
    often offer this treatment in their offices). I get one whenever I feel like I’m coming down with a cold to build up my immune system—and
    it works!
  • In addition to these practical tips, get in the habit of practicing positive thinking. By this I mean, do not beat yourself up with negative thoughts such as “I will never feel better” or “I am weak and sick.” Rather focus on the surrender affirmations I present at the end of every chapter in the book such as “I am healthy, happy, and deserve to have vibrant well-being.” You might not have control over some stresses in your life but you can have control of your attitude. To relieve adrenal fatigue, you can remove a great deal of inner stress by surrendering patterns of self-loathing and embracing self-compassion and self-love!

    Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s book The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, 2017)



    Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at www.drjudithorloff.com.

    Connect with Judith on  FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

    9 thoughts on “Why Empaths Are at Risk for Adrenal Fatigue

    1. I am in my 61st year Woman. After realising I was an Empath about 5 years ago I am at the stage where I cannot ignore what my lack of boundaries is doing to me and my change in body weight.
      I am the heaviest I have ever been (about 100kgs) and no matter how good I eat and exercise my weight hovers around the same (unless I do serious intermittent fasting)!
      What can I do to protect myself moving forward, and lose this weight once and for all!
      Thank you!

    2. I’m 68 and for the first time in my life feel as though I have a definition of who I am. It’s taken me from feelings of being on the “spectrum’ to further appreciation of what I see as a true blessing.

    3. I have wondered why I am physically depleted after my out-of-town family stays with me for a few days. I absolutely love having them there, but being the “emotional sponge” that I am, I am just exhausted afterwards.

    4. With much gratitude, I am thankful. My empathic mind, body, and soul is exhausted, but the Divine Universe immediately placed this article before me to help me realize and to reassure. The Divine Universe is quite empathic, but unlike ourselves, it can always carry the weight and respond to all burdens.

    5. i am empathy finally realised couple yrs ago after sickness and toxic relationships and strangers off loading , vivid dreams and learnt to calm myself, been asjed if im gypsy or medium by strangers, i carry warm light ect, none of which im into , makes me cringe , i lean towards science and fact, but brain science isnt quite there and a lot is guesswork in neuro science , somewher between spirituality and science fact lies us and i believe we are the human future of evolution and not the wierdos , “weirdos” are feared as always have been due to ignorence creating fear, mental illness is sometimes not that or all that is portrayed it can in fact be hyper intelligence “outside box thinkers with “autism” and higher state of understanding to the point it hurts , it is a plus not a minus as we are the achievers ,receiving others pain made me ill but now i see what it was and im just tired so still learning

    6. i suffer from extreme panic attacks, and have no energy. my employees have a myriad of personal problems that they share with me and my toxic relationship with a narcissist cause my physical and emotional depletion. i must learn to enforce boundries to stay healthy. i never realized until today that me being an empath is what draws the drama that isnt mine. what an eyeopener!

    7. I’ve recently learned that I am an empath at the age of 57. I have several serious health issues, including adrenal failure. It’s amazing to learn about how being an empath affects your health and to have my life explained. I feel like I’m a new person. It’s hard work, but I’m so thankful to finally have some answers.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *