What Is An Adrenaline Junkie? What Can You Do If You Are One?

Are You Subconsciously Hooked On Adrenaline?

Adrenaline can feel exciting, but become overwhelming. Creative RF/Tara Moore/Getty Images

What Is An "Adrenaline Junkie?"

Have you ever been called an adrenaline junkie or adrenaline addict? The term "adrenaline junkie" was first popularly used in the 1991 movie Point Break in reference to people who favor dangerous activities for the adrenaline rush that accompanies them. However, you don’t have to be a bank robber, skydiver, or another obvious type of danger-seeker to be hooked on the rush that comes from a little stress; adrenaline junkies come in much more subtle forms. In fact, you could be somewhat hooked on adrenaline in your everyday life and not realize it, and this could contribute to stress in many ways. It could influence the way you manage your schedule, the people you spend time with, and even the way you approach a deadline. Here are some of the subtle stress-seeking situations we may get ourselves into.

Subtle Adrenaline Junkies

The everyday adrenaline junkie is much more subtle and common than the sensational characters in film, though less subtle and more sensational than the average person. They tend to create drama and crises in their lives--either on a conscious or unconscious level—to trigger the body’s stress response and get the rush that comes with the excitement. These are people who don’t merely survive well under pressure but work best under stressful circumstances. The following are examples of everyday adrenaline junkies who may be in your life—or maybe one of these describes you!

  • The people who always seem to have a crisis going in their life (real or overblown)—or surround themselves with troubled souls who constantly need their help.
  • The people who are always rushing, with a packed schedule—and if things begin to slow down, they take on more.
  • The people who have dramatic conflicts with people in their lives, exploding in anger and otherwise causing unnecessary ‘drama’.
  • Students or workers who wait until the last minute to begin a project and then need to really scramble to get it done.

The list could go on, but you get the picture. This is not to say that every busy person or crisis-ridden soul is an adrenaline junkie—some people do come by these circumstances by chance, but if it’s a circumstance that seems to span years and take on different forms (as with people who experience ‘crisis’ after ‘crisis’, or continually over-schedule themselves) love of adrenaline could be the culprit.

Are You An Adrenaline Junkie?

While there are plenty of legitimate reasons why one’s life can maintain a continual aura of drama, and the label ‘adrenaline junkie’ seems a bit harsh and final to pin on anyone (particularly oneself), the concept does provide an interesting angle through which to examine one’s life. While leading an exciting life in and of itself isn’t a problem, unwittingly creating crises for yourself or becoming needlessly engulfed in stressful situations can take its toll. If you tend to create more drama in your life than is necessary, the benefit of becoming aware of it is twofold:

  1. You can begin to keep things exciting but take the ‘crisis edge’ off, paring down unnecessarily stressful activities and distinguishing the subtle difference between a true crisis and a somewhat overblown situation.
  2. You can practice relaxation techniques to reverse your body’s stress response when you find yourself overwhelmed so you don’t experience the full negative effects of chronic stress.

Learn more about stress and stress management with these ongoing stress management resources & take this quiz to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie!

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