depression

Work Burnout Can Have Damaging Effects on Your Mind and Your Physical Body

Work Burnout Can Have Damaging Effects on Your Mind and Your Physical Body

 

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You may love your job, you may hate your job — but either way, a lack of control over your work or work environment, frustration in the workplace, or even a lack of hope after entering into a job can cause what’s called “work burnout”.

 

Burnout is not clinical depression, as research has indicated that the two are “separate entities”.  However, they seem to share similar qualities, especially in cases where the person is suffering a severe case of burnout.  

 

What is Work Burnout?

 

Work burnout is a kind of chronic stress that can lead to mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion.  Burnout is something that creeps up on you over time, the longer you have stress that hasn’t been addressed.  The severest cases of burnout can cause an individual to not be able to function on an effective level both in their professional and personal lives.

 

Burnout is something that anyone in any kind of job can develop, and this includes STEM fields.  

 

 

RELATED:  #STEMSaturdays by Melissa C Marquez — The Talk People Rarely Have — Getting Real About Mental Health

 

 

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In fact, women in STEM are more likely to suffer burnout according to research released in early 2017.  Two researchers, Daphne Pedersen and Krista Minnotte, who are both professors of sociology at the University of North Dakota, surveyed 117 people working in STEM.  About 30% of the responses were from women, and on average, they reported higher levels of job burnout than the men who responded to the questionnaire.  

 

This is most likely due to employers not making their women employees feel like they fit in, says a professor from the University of Reading, Avril MacDonald.

 

 

What Damage Burnout Can Create

 

As brought out at the outset, work burnout and have many harmful effects on the mind and body.  

 

(Resourced from Psychology Today) For one thing, maybe the most obvious symptom of work burnout, this amount of stress can cause chronic fatigue.  Over time, people suffering from burnout start to feel a lack of energy that they were not used to before, and can become physically and emotionally exhausted as the burnout continues. 

 

This can then lead to insomnia, because even if you feel tired, it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep due to the amount of stress.

 

This kind of long-lasting lethargy can lead to effects on the mind, such as lack of attention and concentration, as well as forgetfulness.  As the burnout becomes more severe, this can translate to depression and irritability that can become almost uncontrollable if it remains untreated.

 

We have all heard statistics that say that stress is on a steady incline in the US.  As far as burnout goes, many people from the ages of eighteen to twenty-nine knew of someone who was professionally diagnosed with work burnout.  54% of that demographic (of the people surveyed) didn’t know someone diagnosed with burnout, but 46% of people did know someone diagnosed with burnout.  

 

24% of people in that age ground said that the person they knew who was diagnosed with burnout was themselves.  

 

If you know someone, or you are someone, suffering from burnout: help needs to be found.  Whether in the form of finding a new job that causes less stress, taking a long vacation (if one can afford it), or professional counseling, burnout needs to be treated before it gets out of hand. 

 

List of free emergency hotlines via pleaselive.org.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.


 
 

Does Climate Change Contribute to Depression, PTSD, and other Mental Health Problems?

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Originally Posted April 4th, 2017

 

The American Psychological Association recently came out with a study suggesting that climate change is bad for our mental wellbeing, and can aid in developing mental illnesses such as depression and PTSD.

 

The study was paired with ecoamerica.org, a company that “builds institutional leadership, public support, and political will for climate solutions in the United States”, as well as with Climate for Health, a “national initiative led by a diverse network of health leaders from across the health sector representing key health care, public health, clinical, and medical institutions and associations”.

 

This isn’t the first time this thought has been addressed, and it won’t be the last time.  “The mental health effects of climate change are gaining public attention,” says the study (page 21). “A 2016 government report (U.S. Global Change Research Program) reviewed a large body of research to summarize the current state of knowledge.”

 

This particular study separates the effects of climate change on mental health into two categories: acute impacts and chronic impacts.

 

The acute impacts are “immediate and severe psychological trauma,” according to the study.  These would be things like how a climate change-induced disaster may immediately create a toll for those who got hurt because of the impacts, who’s loved ones or loved pets got harmed as a result, or even property damage.

 

Because of these immediate impacts, though “for most people, acute symptoms of trauma and shock are reduced after conditions of security have been restored,” illnesses such as PTSD and depression can develop.  For instance, according to the study, one in six people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina (2005) have met the criteria needed to be diagnosed with PTSD.

 

The chronic impacts are sustained impacts such as the relationship between heat and aggression.  “Lab-based experiments and eld-based surveys have demonstrated a causal relationship between heat and aggression,” says the study. “In other words, as the temperature goes up, so does aggression.”

 

The rising heat has also been thought to deteriorate social communities.  Because being outside is uncomfortable in hot, sticky weather, people are more likely to stay indoors to be cool.  The more this happens, the more anti-social the human race as a whole can become.  A lack of social interaction has been shown to contribute to depression.

 

Are There Solutions?

 

Short of just solving negative climate change as a whole, there are some things that can be done.

 

The study suggests that mental health professionals become literate as to what’s going on with climate to better understand the impact it may have on their clients.  Individuals who are not mental health professionals are encouraged to have a safety plan for if and when a major weather disaster happens, and to learn “resilience interventions” (pages 53-55) to help themselves out as much as they possibly can.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.