I’m sure you know me by now, but in case you just stumbled upon this, my name is Joshua Porch, and I’m the founder of Bio Hacking Academy. I’ve made it my mission to understand all that I possibly can about the human body so I can help myself and as many people as possible to take control of their health, not just to help in the fight against disease and ailments that are so common to the human race, but to help people fine tune their bodies to supercharge them into the highest performers possible!
In past videos I’ve covered Serotonin in depth, I’ve covered a bit about Dopamine, and I’ve shared lots of info regarding CBD. One neurotransmitter that is not discussed often enough however is Norepinephrine, along with it’s metabolite Epinephrine. These neurotransmitters play a large role in many of the trickier aspects of physiology and psychology that the majority of mankind do not understand too well. Norepinephrine and Epinephrine can be your friends and your foes, depending on the circumstances. There are even some occasions where they can serve as both at the same time. I’ll explain how in just a little bit.
You see, one aspect of the human experience that has always remained elusive to me is why people act the way they do when they get angry, why people lose control under certain conditions, and why some people have a better stress tolerance than others… that is to say, why some people take so much longer to get angry than others even when they are in the exact same situation.
The answer to this is complex, because there are a multitude of factors that affect people’s behaviors and responses to situations. Someone who’s had a bad day already filled with 15 different stressful events prior to the current one will be a lot more likely to fly off the handle than someone who’s had a great day so far and just now experienced their first stressful event of the day. But why does it work that way? Why does the body become less tolerant to stress as the day goes on (usually)?
Norepinephrine and Epinephrine play a key role in this!
You see, when a stressful event happens, the body releases Cortisol… that’s why it’s called the “stress hormone.” Truly, Cortisol is not the stress hormone but it’s the main one. Cortisol causes Dopamine and Serotonin to be released into the blood stream and throughout the brain. However, the Serotonin is quickly depleted, and the Dopamine is converted into Norepinephrine. While Dopamine provides the initial motivation for focusing on the problem and trying to figure out how to solve it, once it gets broken down into Norepinephrine, the body shifts more to a state of “fight or flight.”
When this happens, the Norepinephrine makes the person into a tough, grouchy productivity machine. The Norepinephrine makes a person become aggressive and ready to fight, and it’s designed to make the person act in such a way as to hopefully intimidate any would be troubling people or animals into being afraid and not messing with them. When the problem that’s occurring has to do with a vehicle, object or some other thing where there isn’t an interpersonal threat, then the effect of the Norepinephrine becomes more of a hindrance.
The Norepinephrine is then converted to Epinephrine, which raises blood pressure even more and puts a person in a bit of a frenzied state. It is a large contributing factor that makes people get road rage, “slow computer rage”, “video game rage” etc. It’s one of the main contributors to people’s veins bulging and their face turning red when some problem is really aggravating and it won’t go away or seems unsolvable/unfixable.
So, the reason that people who’ve been through 15 stressful events already in a given day lose their temper easier than someone who has only experienced zero, or one, or two stressful events thus far in the day is because every time a stressful event happens, the body builds up levels of Norepinephrine and Epinephrine which take time to go down. In addition, the body becomes depleted in Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA and other happiness/pleasure related compounds. When many stressful things happen over and over, and close together, the body builds up higher and higher levels of Norepinephrine, Epinephrine and Cortisol levels while being depleted of the “happy” chemicals. This creates a perfect storm that our society has not yet reached the state of learning how to deal with properly.
Unfortunately, our bodies don’t recognize that the flood of stress hormones and neurotransmitters (which includes Cortisol, Glutamate, Dihydrotestosterone, Estrogen and more) is harmful if the perceived threat is an inanimate object, electronic device, machine, or a line of cars in front of us where no matter how mad we get, we can’t make the people in front of us move when we want them to. The excess Cortisol and Glutamate that happens in the brain during extreme or prolonged stress disrupts the Pre Frontal Cortex where critical thinking, logical reasoning and emotional stabilization occur.
So, what most people don’t realize is that when someone loses their temper and says something they later regretted and they swear that they didn’t mean to say it, they usually aren’t making up an excuse, they’re giving a 100% honest answer about something that their body chemistry made them do that was totally out of their control… and they had no way of foreseeing it or stopping it from happening. It is this lack of proper understanding of how the body works that causes so much unnecessary dysfunction and quarreling within families, among law enforcement and judicial officials, paramedics, psychiatrists, etc.
To further complicate the issue, most people in the medical and psychiatric community don’t know how to treat or prevent anger appropriately. It happens to everyone, but this is in regard to people who get angry especially easily or more frequently than the average person. Certainly, their individual circumstances have a role to play in how often people get upset and why, but even then, if the right chemicals could be changed in the right way at the right time, people wouldn’t even get angry if someone spit a bunch of snot on their face or punched them in the nose, etc etc. It all comes down to keeping the stress hormones and neurotransmitters from getting too elevated, but that is where the problem lies.
You see, in order to prevent people from ever getting angry for any reason, the medical industry would have to figure out a way to create a medicine or medical device that was capable of preventing the anger inducing neurotransmitters and hormones from becoming elevated during a time of stress while at the same time not making those endogenous chemicals be too low during normal times of day that are not stressful. The kind of technology that would be required to accomplish this task simply doesn’t exist right now and quite possibly may never exist.
It is possible in theory that something which had the ability to be an allosteric modulator of each of the receptor cites for all of the neurotransmitters and hormones in question could accomplish this goal, but I don’t think it would ever be possible to create one drug which could have that effect on that many of the correct receptors simultaneously. If something like that was to be accomplished, it would have to be through a medical device.
The only possible conceivable solution I can think of would involve something similar to an insulin pump, some sort of implant or box which attaches to the body and has an IV or IM insertion point where a port would remain in place for the machine to inject the right drugs at the right time. With such a machine, it would have to constantly monitor many different levels of hormones, neurotransmitters and electrical activity within the body 24/7.
The machine would have to detect when stressful events were beginning to occur and continue monitoring the body throughout the stressful event, and the machine would have to inject the right kind of drugs at the right time in the right amount at the right diffusion rate in order to keep the body’s stress response at neutral, or in essence, eliminate the fight or flight response. This could of course pose several dangers if it was ever possible and real.
First of all, the biggest danger would be if someone was about to be run over by a vehicle or was being chased by an animal, this lack of fight or flight response could result in the person not getting out of harm’s way fast enough. Secondly, if someone was confronted by another person who wished to physically harm them, the lack of stress compounds would make the victim unable to fight at a fair level, which would obviously increase their chances of being hurt or killed.
Finally, lack of stress compound elevation could make someone remain docile and non-confrontational towards someone who was trying to do something seriously harmful to that person on an emotional, financial or social level. There are just some times where sitting by and refusing to stand up against someone who is ruining your life by their ignorant, irresponsible or evil behavior might as well be a suicide sentence upon yourself.
While we ought to be as nice as possible for as long as possible, I believe that God Himself would not even want someone to allow their lives to be destroyed by someone who was trying to take control in ways which they don’t have the right, and who don’t really know what’s best for someone else’s life, even if they really think they know best. Such people sometimes need to be told off in order to keep your boundaries respected and your life as trouble free as possible.
Of course, technically cursing is a sin but I also believe that because God understands that chemical/medical factors can make someone lose control of their words from time to time, I believe that He takes that into consideration, especially if the person later regrets or apologizes for what they said. Even if you feel the need to apologize to someone or try to bury the hatchet, it may be best to keep your distance and lessen the frequency of your interaction with that person if you know that communication with them will often lead to worsening of your quality of life and undue stress that could otherwise be avoided… this even applies to family as unfortunate as it may be.
In closing, “Norepinephrine and Epinephrine play a key role in the management of stressful situations, but they also have benefits such as helping provide increased focus, motivation, physical energy, muscular performance enhancement, and more. While these compounds may sometimes bring about consequences that we wish we could avoid, without them we would be sitting ducks with no energy, virility, sense of self preservation or drive to protect our loved ones.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful and informative, and I hope that it clears away some of the mystery surrounding stress and anger. Please stay tuned, and until next time, take care!
Founder, Owner and CEO of Bio Hacking Academy