4 Main Burnout Symptoms – Burned Out and Exhausted

The people who experience Burnout Symptoms perceive their own performance as low compared to the constantly increasing demands.

If a person works a lot and forgets to take breaks, it can easily happen that they develop what is known as burnout syndrome. With this disease, the body falls into a state of total exhaustion, both physically and mentally.

People who suffer from burnout feel emotionally exhausted and only have a reduced performance. At the beginning of an illness, for example, there are professional ideals that one pursues. The illness can end in depression through frustrating experiences. 

Likewise, the risk of addiction in people suffering from burnout is very high. Burnout can lead to psychosomatic disorders. 

If these are recognized in time by a doctor, medication can be used to counteract them. The most common cause of burnout is stress that can no longer be managed. 

The disease can be observed in numerous occupational groups. This includes athletes, research staff, politicians or people who are involved in long-term care of relatives.

What is Burnout?

Symptoms of Burnout

The symptoms of a burnout illness can be divided into three different categories. The first category is emotional exhaustion. Exhaustion is caused by excessive emotional or physical exertion. 

The affected people feel tired, dull, and weak. They suffer from weakness and lack of drive. These people are also very easy to irritate. The second category of burnout is depersonalization. 

These people move away from themselves more and more. They create a distance between themselves and their everyday work. 

For example, a distance is built between the person himself and the people who are cared for or taught. 

Other burnout symptoms of depersonalization are indifference and cynicism. Daily work becomes impersonal and degenerates into routine. 

The third category is experiencing failure. Patients feel dissatisfied because, despite physical and emotional overload, they feel that they have not achieved much. These people lack a sense of achievement in the professional or private sphere. 

Burnout Symptoms

Today, more than ever, many people are under increasing pressure in their private and professional life: stress at work, bullying, fear of exams, constant conflicts of all kinds in their private lives. 

If you do not ensure enough breaks and recovery phases in time, the first, slight symptoms of burnout can occur, which you often explain to yourself by slight exhaustion.

These signs include, for example, chronic fatigue and lack of energy. If you expose yourself to this pressure over a longer period of time and neglect hobbies, proper nutrition, sporting activities, etc., you move towards a more critical, both physical and psychological state.

Sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, a lack of concentration and slight memory lapses are often the result. Small tasks are then often difficult. At a certain point, motivation is practically no longer present in burnout syndrome.

1. You withdraw

You withdraw i.e. social contacts become less; you no longer take part in social life. Emotional signs such as impatience and intolerance, easy irritability and a feeling of inner powerlessness and emptiness are also typical symptoms of burnout.

2. Feel overwhelmed

At work, you either feel overwhelmed, fail, and find it difficult to make decisions – or you trust your own body and mind too much and become a pathological workaholic. 

Both can have serious consequences: appointments are postponed, the relationship with colleagues and the supervisor changes negatively, fear of failure, fear of losing a job or fear of insufficient qualifications (“I’m not good enough”) can become stronger and you have the feeling that that one’s very existence is threatened.

It can also quickly become difficult for the family to endure such a stressed person in the long term, which is why burnout therapy also has a positive effect on relatives. It can therefore also make sense to include the partner and / or family members in the treatment of burnout syndrome.

3. Immune system weakened

As for physical symptoms, when suffering from Burnout’s syndrome, the body’s immune system is weakened and diseases become more common. The consumption of alcohol, caffeine or nicotine can increase with burnout, and sometimes drastically. In extreme cases, drugs or drugs are taken to stimulate the patient – a desperate attempt to counteract the stress by pharmaceutical means.

4. Stages of the disease

Doctors have found that the disease has twelve phases. The course does not follow a fixed sequence. The individual symptoms can appear in different phases in each patient. 

In the first phase, the people concerned feel the urge to have to prove something to themselves and to others. 

Another phase is the development of a high-performance striving, with which the aim is to be able to meet very high expectations. A third phase in which burnout symptoms occur describes the overworking of the affected person. This phase is characterized by the fact that the patient begins to neglect his or her personal needs and social contacts. 

In the following phase, the patient begins to cover up his internal problems and conflicts. In phase five, those affected grapple with initial self-doubt. 

Likewise, things that are taken for granted, such as friends or hobbies, are questioned until before the illness. This is followed by burnout symptoms such as denial of problems, intolerance and a loss of appreciation for other people. 

At this point at the latest, the patient begins to withdraw from his social environment. 

Participation in social contacts is reduced to a minimum. Now comes the moment when the change in behavior has a noticeable effect on people around the patient. The affected person feels more and more worthless. 

Furthermore, the person suffering from burnout experiences increasing anxiety. In the tenth phase, the process of depersonalization begins. The patient loses contact with himself and with other people. 

Everyday processes begin to become mechanical. This creates a feeling of inner emptiness in the patient. They try to cover up this by overreacting to sexuality, alcohol and drugs. In the penultimate phase of a burnout illness, patients begin to suffer from depression. 

This phase is characterized by symptoms such as indifference, hopelessness, lack of perspective and exhaustion. In the last phase, affected people begin to deal with their first thoughts of suicide. The acute risk of physical and mental breakdown increases.

Burnout Preventive Measures

The measures that can be taken to prevent burnout syndrome can either be applied holistically or individually, depending on the situation. One of the most important measures is to include regular breaks in everyday life. 

Various relaxation and meditation exercises, as well as the practice of certain types of sport, can also prevent burnout. The stress should always be kept within limits. Clear objectives help to reduce the risk of illness. To stay healthy, a person should ask themselves the following basic questions. 

For one thing, what am I? What I want? And how do I manage to implement my goals effectively? A clear definition of these questions will help avoid overloading. If you are not clear about your identity, your self-esteem and thus your self-assessment will suffer considerably. If you know your own strengths, however, you know what you are able to achieve. It is also important to get confirmation for a job. This ensures a sense of achievement that can stop burnout symptoms or prevent them from developing in the first place.

Burnout Remedies

Failure to seek the right help in this phase can ultimately lead to severe depression, anxiety, extreme despair and even suicidal thoughts – one is burned out from stress and chronic exhaustion.

By definition, the cause of the burn-out syndrome is, however, a complex interplay between external circumstances, such as high workload, financial hardship, family situation, excessive demands from the environment, etc. paired with individual personality traits such as perfectionist striving, high expectations and exaggerated self-criticism.

The tendency towards perfectionism or particularly great ambition is particularly typical here. As a workaholic you toil for your job or other goals (sport, art, music or other hobbies that are taken very seriously) downright fanatically and you don’t allow yourself any breaks. 

Instead, one criticizes the supposed lack of perseverance and self-discipline rather than relaxing and refueling with vital energy.

Similar effects can develop from lack of social approval, fear of failure, and inability to say “no”. As individual as people and their circumstances are, their burn-out symptoms also develop more or less differently.

In every stage of the burn-out syndrome, it is possible to successfully counteract this development through stress-reducing measures and also to take preventive measures in order to avoid future Burnout Symptoms from the outset.

The burnout syndrome in the advanced stage is a long-lasting condition as a result. The deficiencies in the hormonal and nervous system associated with this development must now be slowly counteracted.

Medication may be used temporarily for the initial treatment to ensure a stable basis for the necessary therapy. The therapy is based on the individual circumstances and personality traits of the patient.

Simple methods of relaxation and stress relief are particularly suitable as therapeutic measures in all phases, such as NLP, hypnosis, meditation, yoga, tai chi, extensive relaxation in a clinic, relaxing with relaxation music, a wellness weekend in a health clinic or a restful one you leave.

Attending a seminar, a self-help group or a workshop in which further tips on self-help and prophylaxis are explained is definitely not wrong. If you are not sure whether you have burnout or not, you can use a self-test to see to what extent you are affected. Such a test can be a simple questionnaire, for example.

A psychotherapist or doctor can of course also help with the diagnosis. In any case, you should not only allow yourself more opportunities for regeneration once, but regularly in order to permanently avoid the burn-out syndrome. Burnout can be overcome through regular phases of relaxation.

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