Adrenaline (epinephrine) is a hormone your adrenal glands make to help you prepare for stressful or dangerous situations. Adrenaline rush is the name for the quick release of adrenaline into your bloodstream. This gets your body ready for a “fight or flight” response.


What is adrenaline?

Adrenaline (epinephrine) is a hormone your adrenal glands send through your bloodstream. When you’re scared or stressed suddenly, adrenaline is quickly sent into your body. This is commonly known as an adrenaline rush because it happens so fast. You’ve probably heard of “fight or flight.” Adrenaline is what gets your body ready to fight or flee danger.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Are there any diseases associated with adrenaline?

If your adrenal glands produce too much adrenaline (epinephrine) or norepinephrine, it can cause high blood pressure from pheochromocytoma. This is a tumor a provider can remove in surgery. Just because you have high blood pressure, it doesn’t mean you have a tumor. They are rare. Your healthcare provider can do blood tests and imaging to check for it.

What are the symptoms of pheochromocytoma?

Symptoms of pheochromocytoma include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Bad headaches.
  • Lightheadedness when you stand up.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Quick pulse.


Can adrenaline harm my body?

Adrenaline serves a purpose by helping you react in a dangerous situation. But there are times when it’s not helpful to your body. Nicotine makes your body release adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure is bad because it makes your heart work harder.

When anxiety causes panic attacks, your body releases adrenaline because it thinks you’re in danger. These attacks put your body under stress each time, making your heart work harder.

How do I control adrenaline?

If fear, anxiety or panic attacks are making your body release adrenaline, it’s good to know how to fight back. Do something to feel calmer, such as:

  • Breathe deeply.
  • Take a nature walk.
  • Listen to a meditation app or calming music.
  • Talk to a friend or relative.

If the methods outlined above don’t always help, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider. They can find ways to manage your anxiety and reduce your risk of panic attacks.



What does adrenaline do?

Adrenaline is produced in the adrenal glands, which release adrenaline into the body during times of stress or danger. It prepares your body to face a stressful “fight or flight” situation.

What are the symptoms of an adrenaline rush?

When adrenaline is released into your bloodstream:

  • Your heart beats faster.
  • You breathe faster.
  • Your digestion slows so other muscles can use the blood that digestive organs would normally use.
  • You feel very alert.

What kinds of activities cause an adrenaline rush?

Dangerous, adventure-type activities and extreme sports can cause an adrenaline rush.

These include:

  • Rock climbing.
  • Snowboarding.
  • Zip lining.
  • BASE jumping.

You can also get an unplanned adrenaline rush from:

  • A panic attack.
  • Having a traffic accident.
  • A frightening experience.


You have two adrenal glands. Each is just above one of your two kidneys. Your adrenal glands make the hormone adrenaline and send it into your bloodstream.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Adrenaline, a hormone your adrenal glands produce, has a purpose. It helps you face dangerous situations by causing temporary changes in your body. Your heartbeats and breathing get faster as part of the “fight or flight” response. This is normal when you’re in danger, but you should tell your healthcare provider if you have frequent adrenaline rushes that aren’t related to dangerous situations.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 05/19/2022.

Learn more about our editorial process.

Questions 216.444.2538