Only recently was it recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a true condition. Burnout Syndrome, not Depression, is the true epidemic of the 21st century. According Ph.D. endocrinologist Flávio Cadegiani MD, MSc, Ph.D., CEO and medical director of Corpometria Institute – Center for Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, the first Latin American Center for Obesity Prevention, It is urgent that we learn about this emerging syndrome with catastrophic consequences.
Burnout syndrome has been initially reported in the 1970s, among workers of unwieldy workplaces. However, a progressive fasting growing number of individuals started to present severe symptoms, similar but worse than those reported by those workers of hostile environments, and unrestricted to any sort of work or activity, which were initially unrelated to the workplace-related burnout.
Doctor Flávio Cadegiani explains that the major complaints of this increasing number of people were a mix of mental and physical deep exhaustion, loss of self-identity, loss of the sense of self-belonging, perception that the person is not him/herself anymore, fear of missing out (FOMO), that surrounding people are purely driven by self-interests, and that the world has become vague and meaningless, decreased self-confidence and reduced sense of personal accomplishment, as well as some features of major depression and anxiety disorder.
“These people also started to have headaches, altered appetite, increased infections, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships and behavior”, says the Doctor. Cadegiani believes that the burnout syndrome, now present in a massive number of people, has some characteristics of depression, anxiety, and several other different conditions, but could not be classified and diagnosed as one of these diseases.
For that reason, the Doctor and his team at Corpometria Institute decided to publish eight reasons, risk factors, and unhealthy mental and physical behaviors that are more present than ever that may lead to burnout syndrome. See below:
1- We want more than ever and highly encouraged to become a high-performance human, successful in all major aspects of life, at the same time;
2- Excessive exposure to the unrealistic world of social media. We inherently compare ourselves with others, but we unconsciously forget that these “others” show their beautiful masks, not themselves. There is a linear correlation between duration of exposure to social media and symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and aberrant behaviors;
3- We are more exposed to information than ever. Excessive exposure to data has harmful effects on the brain;
4- A digital environment that promotes and intensifies the dysfunctional fear of missing out (FOMO), leading to a progressive and a pathological desire to be continuously connected online in order to be updated and to imitate what others are currently doing;
5- Our perception of other humans has never been so negative, in a way that we now care more for animals (which we should really care for also) than humans;
6- Because of the pressure of social media and the feeling of being constantly judged by others, we do not allow self-rewarding and indulgences, which could have a very healthy mental role to avoid decompensations;
7- People show their successfulness, but not their failures. We then see others better than they actually are, while we see ourselves as worse than we are. And this has never been so strong due to an implicit competition in all areas of life; and
8- We are now unconsciously being “classified” according to the sum and the level of success of each aspect of life.
“Being aware of all these strong pressures, that come from ourselves and also from others, that we “need” to accomplish others’ expectations and our self-‘expectations’ in absolutely every aspect of life, and that regardless of how well we do in different aspects of life, we will consider ourselves as being insufficient, particularly when compared to others,” explain Cadegiani.
“When we realize that we are currently in a mentally sick world, that on top of that, we are pretending to be healthier than ever, maybe we will stop and reconsider what are we here for, and then understand that it is ok not to be the most handsome, sexy, smart, healthy, wealthy, interesting and successful person at the same time, and that we do not need to be fully updated about everything all the time, and it is not so cool to be overexposed to social media and the digital world, then we may start to face a decrease of the burnout epidemic”, say Cadegiani.