Stress and burnout – a modern pandemic
The prevalence of stress disorders and occupational burnout has increased dramatically, now hitting people in many professions and at all ages and stages of life. Work-related stress is one of the biggest risk factors for burnout, but as practitioners we consider the entire life situation of our patients. Care-takers of ill relatives or children with special needs are at particular risk for burnout. This also applies to people exposed to early life trauma.
Stress affects our bodies in numerous ways, both in the short and long term. It increases the risk of virtually all diseases of modern life, such as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many more.
Stress resilience is affected by social support, sleep and nutritional status. Zinc, B vitamins and magnesium are especially important for our ability to manage stress. Magnesium deficiency makes us more stress-sensitive. Conversely, stress in turn lowers magnesium levels, which can create a vicious cycle.
Sleep issues are often part of the picture. Many testify that they “hit the wall” after their sleep began to falter.
At Nordic Clinic, we help exhausted patients build resilience through stress-reducing techniques, optimising gut flora and nutritional intake, as well as other lifestyle factors such as circadian rhythm, and sleep routines.
However, “burnout” is sometimes confused with other conditions – some patients are diagnosed with a stress disorder against their own beliefs that stress isn’t in fact an underlying cause. In these cases, it may be appropriate to dig deeper. Symptoms of chronic infections often overlap substantially with symptoms of stress disorders. Infections can cause severe fatigue, anxiety, stress sensitivity, exertion-induced deterioration, sleep problems or excessive sleep, pain and depression. Lyme disease and other tick infections are examples of conditions that do not always cause classic symptoms such as rashes and joint pain. When they don’t, they’re easy to miss and many patients receive an incorrect diagnosis. Sometimes standard healthcare does test for borrelia burgdorferi, but fails to test for the many other chronic infections that can cause a range of symptoms indistinguishable from those of borrelia. The misdiagnosed patient group typically do not experience any significant improvements despite prolonged sick leave and rest. Stress-reducing techniques commonly have little to no effect. At Nordic Clinic, we follow the latest research in infection testing with great interest and, in addition to standard testing, also use medical tests from laboratories internationally as a complement.