WHAT IS BURNOUT
- Stress now contributes to 90% of all diseases.
- Half of all visits to doctors are stress-related.
- Doctors, lawyers and clergy have the most problems with drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide.
BURNOUT VS. STRESS – by Dr. Arch Hart
Burnout is a defense characterized by disengagement.
Stress is characterized by overengagement.
In Burnout the emotions become blunted.
In Stress the emotions become over-reactive.
In Burnout the emotional damage is primary.
In Stress the physical damage is primary.
The exhaustion of Burnout affects motivation and drive.
The exhaustion of Stress affects physical energy.
Burnout produces demoralization.
Stress produces disintegration.
Burnout can best be understood as a loss of ideals and hope.
Stress can best be understood as a loss of fuel and energy.
The depression of Burnout is caused by the grief engendered by the loss of ideals and hope.
The depression of Stress is produced by the body’s need to protect itself and conserve energy.
Burnout produces a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
Stress produces a sense of urgency and hyperactivity.
Burnout produces paranoia, depersonalization and detachment.
Stress produces panic, phobic, and anxiety-type disorders.
Burnout may never kill you but your long life may not seem worth living.
Stress may kill you prematurely, and you won’t have enough time to finish what you started.
It is not possible to live without stress. Stressors can be positive, like weddings, but they still mess with your emotions. Most of us are not subject to physical danger very often, but whenever you are ‘driven’ by a very tight program, or threatened by a demand or expectation you don’t think you can meet, your body reacts in the same way. Dr. David McClelland, professor of psychology at Harvard, says stress addiction is similar to the state of physiological arousal some people derive from a dependency on alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. A recent book Management and the Brain (Soujanen and Bessinger) suggests that some professionals are actually hooked on stress ; they get a high out of controlling people and making complex decisions.
- Bio-ecological factors related to poor diet (too much caffeine, refined white sugar, processed flour, salt etc.) and poor exercise habits. They also include noise and air pollution.
- Vocational factors include career uncertainty; role ambiguity (a lack of clearly defined functions); role conflict (between work expectations and personal or family needs); role overload (too many real or imagined expectations); lack of opportunities to just be yourself, for a change; loneliness (lack of spiritual direction); time management frustrations – and many more.
- Psychological factors relate principally to the great life-change stressors – from the most stressful (such as the loss of a spouse), through divorce, death of a close family member, personal injury or illness, all the way to getting ready for Christmas or being handed a speeding fine!
- Spiritual causes of stress may include temptations of all kinds (sexual, despair, jealousy of the success of others, anxiety over financial problems, anger and any other way the devil can get at us). According to one study, even prayer can be stressful !
- Demoralization – belief you are not longer effective
- Depersonalization – treating yourself and others in an impersonal way
- Detachment – withdrawing from responsibilities
- Distancing – avoidance of social and interpersonal contacts
- Defeatism – a feeling of being beaten
- Decreased energy – it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up the pace
- Feeling of failure in vocation;
- Reduced sense of reward in return for pouring so much of self into the job or project;
- A sense of helplessness and inability to see a way out of problems; and
- Cynicism and negativism about self, others, work and the world generally.
- Emotional – Unusual mood swings that may include weeping without just cause, anger, or depression. General irritability. Exhaustion
- Moments of panic and feeling totally overwhelmed
- Fantasizing about dying or running away to get away from the pressure
- Insomnia – Including difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to a reliance on sleeping pills
- Self-medication – Caffeine addiction. Too frequent use of alcohol or tobacco. Comforting yourself with unhealthy foods packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates
- Health-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, heart trouble, chronic sickness, and stomach problems including ulcers. Weight change, including gain or loss. High blood pressure.
- Fatalism – A victim mentality that sees the world as against you and everyone as an enemy to varying degrees. Paranoia and suspicion.
- Heavy Burden – Children, friends, and loved ones begin to feel like yet another burden