Is Burnout Real?

Hello again everyone:

Most of us at some point in our lives, have felt burnt out. This is usually from chronic stress that is usually a combination of different types of stresses. These may include work and/or emotional and mental stress, biochemical stress and physical stress. Examples might be: working 50 to 70 hours per week; stressful work situations including how well we get along with our boss or co-workers; poor eating habits; recurrent illnesses; nutrient depletion and imbalances; poor sleep; lack of appropriate exercise; frustration in not achieving our purpose; relationship issues; substance abuse such as sugar and/or alcohol or food; medications; etc.

Burn out is real, and now the medical profession has even given the condition it’s own diagnostic code:

Z73.0 – Burn-out state of vital exhaustion

Symptoms include: extreme fatigue; anxiety; insomnia; weariness; loss of motivation and/or passion for work or other responsibilities, ambitions or goals; negativity; cynicism; loss of hope; feeling profoundly emotionally exhausted; feeling less of a sense of worth or competency; not feeling recognized or rewarded appropriately and more.

For more detailed info, please check out this really informative link:

What is it that I find in burnout patients?? Typically, it is some type of dysfunction in the HPA axis. This is the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. And what is that?

Our brain has many ways of recognizing stress and generating a pro-survival response, and a primary one is the HPA axis. Any type of stress sends signals to the brain so that we can respond appropriately and survive and thrive. This information comes into the brain, and gets sent to the hypothalamus to generate a survival response. Once the hypothalamus gets the information, it sends a signal to the pituitary to actually carry out the response by sending signals to our body on how to respond to the stress, and the usual target is the adrenal glands.

For example: Let’s say we are having a very stressful day at work. This emotional, chemical or physical stress sends a signal to the hypothalamus, then sends a signal to the pituitary that sends a signal to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands respond by putting out increased levels of adrenalin and cortisol, which give us the energy and lift we need to see our way through the stress and to recover from it. This is great and has allowed humans to conquer their environment and do great things.

Bottom Line: The problems arise when this mechanism becomes chronically turned on, and this persistent elevation of stress hormones has MANY NEGATIVE downstream effects. Over the next couple of newsletters, we will explore how stress and the continual over-stimulation of the HPA results in poor health and degeneration of multiple bodily systems. From exhaustion to digestive problems, to depression, to frequent illnesses or infections, increased allergies, poor sleep, loss of cognitive function, increased anxiety, poor memory and more, stress is usually part of the gang that is tearing us down. In the next issues, we will go over this and describe self-care things you can do now to off-set the negative effects of stress.

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