Wednesday, 12. June 2013

Burnout: What Makes it so Dangerous?

"If someone feels burned out, he should simply take some time off and relax", many people think to themselves. These people often have no experience with the ever more frequently occurring medical syndrome. Just "taking time off" doesn't always work. The psychosomatic state of burnout takes such a  physical and emotional toll that it has a neurochemical impact. This is what makes burnout really dangerous!

Is the simplest description of burnout is: simply too much! Your job, family, friends, sports, hobbies, even food and drink become a burden. Your appetite suffers. You feel exhausted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Your stomach and intestine are irritated, you cannot sleep, you often experience other infections, and your blood pressure and blood sugar are rise. You may feel tense or constantly agitated and irritated.

For your body and spirit to work together,  the "messengers" that work to convey messages in your body also have to work together in the nervous system. These messengers work to either speed up or slow down messages. Adrenaline belongs to the speedier group and is as known as a stress hormone that speeds up our heart rate. This causes our heart to beat faster. This reaction is left over from the days of fight or flight when we were still escaping from dinosaurs and needed a reserve of extra energy. Serotonin is another one of these messengers, and conveys our feelings of happiness. 

Cortisol, dopamine, and norepinephrine are energizers. While melatonin, GABA, DHEA and tryptophan are seen as tranquilizers.

Back to burnout- when we are feeling exhausted, almost all tranquilizing neurotransmitters that are usually used for regeneration and relaxation, including sleep, are enabled. Especially serotonin, the precursor to the formation of melatonin, the sleep hormone, is in extremely short supply. At the same time, the body is in constant stress. This makes it even harder for the body to cope.

In clear words: relaxation and regeneration are impossible the neurotransmitters are running around in chaos. It is only a matter of time before the person collapses both physically and mentally.

Therefore it makes a lot of sense not to ignore the first signs of burnout. Take care of yourself as soon as you notice the symptoms, and avoid a much longer struggle in the years ahead.