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How long can an adrenaline rush last

A stressful situation will trigger the release of the hormone adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, into the bloodstream. The production of adrenaline occurs in the adrenal glands, which sit above the kidneys. Adrenaline is responsible for the fight-or-flight reaction to a threat, and it triggers specific processes in the body.

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The term flooding describes the release of hormones that flood or prepare your body for action. These chemicals must pass through your body, be absorbed into the tissues and released into the urine before your body returns to normal. The fight or flight process takes 20 minutes. You will need a 20 minute respite to completely calm down physiologically! If the stressful situation remains, your heart rate will remain elevated, and your body will pump out adrenaline and your thinking will be clouded. Most people think they are calm, long before they actually are physiologically calm.

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Whether you're preparing for a big game or running for your life, your body reacts naturally by engaging in what is commonly termed an adrenaline rush.

This hormone response may be enjoyable or unnerving, depending on the situation, but it usually resolves itself quickly. As your fight-or-flight hormones are metabolized, your body will return to its normal state.


An adrenaline rush—also called the fight-or-flight response—is caused by a hormone release from the adrenal gland. In healthy people, the hormone release consists of 80 percent epinephrine also called adrenaline and 20 percent norepinephrine.

It is the body's natural coping reaction for activities or environmental situations that are exhilarating, stressful or physically demanding.

When epinephrine and norepinephrine are released into the body, your body's airways and large blood vessels dilate to funnel larger amounts of oxygen, glucose and blood to the respiratory system, muscles and brain. This hormone release also increases your heart rate and blood-sugar levels, improving the body's performance for the short term.

Those experiencing adrenaline rushes typically feel temporarily stronger, faster and more tolerant of pain. While the stress response is an important part of managing fear and excitement, an adrenaline rush can produce feelings of anxiety, tension and panic—also part of the body's fight-or-flight response.

What to know about an adrenaline rush

That's why it's important to allow your body to work off the hormones released during an adrenaline rush. When you encounter a high-stress situation that does not include physical activity, you may be faced with lingering hormones that cause jittery, anxious or sleepless feelings. After dealing with high amounts of adrenaline-producing stress, take a walk, go for a jog or engage in deep-breathing exercises until the hormones leave your system.

The duration of an adrenaline rush varies by person and situation.

Typically, the epinephrine and norepinephrine triggered during fight-or-flight are metabolized as the body deals with the physically demanding situation. When the threat is resolved, the body begins to return to its normal state.

Effects of an adrenaline rush

However, as mentioned above, you may need to exercise in order to metabolize remaining hormones and decrease lingering feelings of panic. While adrenaline rushes are normal, some people may experience harmless side effects during the hormone release. These effects may include severe sweating, trembling in the extremities, knots in the stomach or an inability to speak, which typically resolve after the body returns to a normal metabolic state.

See your health practitioner if you experience adrenaline rushes that occur frequently or last for long periods. Prolonged releases of stress hormones may have a negative effect on the body and may be caused by an underlying medical condition.

What is adrenaline?

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