Causes of Burnout Syndrome : Treatments

Burn-out: Causes, symptoms, natural treatment

Definition of burnout

According to the WHO, burnout is a work-related phenomenon.

burnout

Photo Andrea Piacquadio in Pexels

It is not considered a disease. “Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as a result of chronic stress at work that has not been adequately managed.

The three dimensions characterize it burnout:

  • a feeling of lack of energy or exhaustion;
  • withdrawal from work or feelings of negativity or cynicism at work;
  • a loss of professional efficiency.

According to the WHO, “the term ‘burn-out’ refers specifically to phenomena related to the work context and should not be used to describe experiences in other spheres of life.

In France, the Haute Autorité de Santé defines burn-out as “a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion resulting from a prolonged investment in emotionally demanding work situations”, according to the definition proposed by Schaufeli and others in 20011 .

Finally, the notion of “burnout” has recently extended beyond the professional dimension.

Therefore, he was recognized and studied in..:

  • athletes2 ;
  • soldiers3 ;
  • students4 ;
  • Caregivers of a person with a critical illness5 ;
  • parents6.

Prevalence

According to a study conducted by the Institut National de Veille Sanitaire (INVS) between 2007 and 20127, the number of employees suffering from work-related psychological suffering is estimated at 480,000 in 2012 and 7% of these employees are in a state of exhaustion, i.e., they have been burned out.
30,000 people
.

In 2012 the burnout affected 3.4% of women and 1.4% of men, and these figures are constantly increasing.

In addition, in 2014, a company specializing in the prevention of occupational hazards8 announced the number of 3.2 million people at high risk of suffering burns, or more than 12% of the workforce.

Likewise, in 2016, the National Academy of Medicine, extrapolating the results of a Belgian study to the French working population, estimated that some 100,000 people would be affected by the exhaustion syndrome9 .

Finally, the professions most at risk are those of caregivers, teachers, students, especially medical students, managers, traders and craftsmen, farmers and soldiers.

According to the study by the company specializing in occupational risk prevention, in 2014, 23% of farmers, 20% of craftsmen, traders and company directors and 19% of managers and professionals were at high risk of suffering burns.

In Luxembourg, in 2019, according to the “7th national survey Luxembourg 2019 Quality of Work Index” of the Luxembourg Chamber of Employees, 35% of employees would be in a situation of exhaustion.

Symptoms of burnout

They settle gradually, insidiously and are both psychological and physical.

The psychological symptoms can be very numerous:

  • Discouragement, disconnection
  • Cynicism
  • Loss of empathy
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Ira
  • Hostility, aggressiveness
  • Devaluation, feelings of incompetence
  • Sense of failure
  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Removal, isolation
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Anhedonia (loss of the anticipation of pleasure or the pleasure of doing things that used to be enjoyed)
  • Sadness, crying
  • Impaired judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Addictive behaviors: caffeine (coffee, soft drinks), sugar, alcohol, tobacco, drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine
  • Great difficulty to concentrate
  • Difficulty in performing several tasks at the same time
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Confusion
  • Errors, mistakes, omissions
  • Memory loss
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide, in the most serious cases

Physical symptoms often accompany psychological symptoms:

  • Fatigue, asthenia
  • Muscle tension or pain, most often in the back: low back pain, neck pain, etc.
  • Cramps
  • Headaches, Migraines
  • Vertigo
  • Digestive disorders: stomach ulcers, reflux, functional intestinal disorders
  • Insomnia, waking up at night and/or difficulty falling asleep
  • Skin problems
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Decrease or loss of libido
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart disease: tachycardia, hypertension, increased coronary risk
  • Sensitivity to infections (colds, flu, ear infections, sinusitis, etc.)

Projection

The examination must be carried out by the occupational physician or, in his absence, by the Centre de consultation des pathologies professionnelles.

First, an examination of the working conditions must be made. Then a medical examination is performed to assess the severity of the disorder and any underlying conditions (adjustment disorder, anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or post-traumatic state).

The MBI (Maslach Burn Inventory)10 is a questionnaire to assess the severity of burns. It was first designed to help professionals and then other versions were created for teachers and the general population.

This questionnaire is not a diagnostic instrument but an evaluation instrument that questions three dimensions: exhaustion, depersonalization, reduction of the sense of self-fulfillment.

There are other questionnaires of the same style: the Oldenburg Burn Inventory (OLBI), the Copenhagen Burn Inventory (CBI), the ShiromMelamed Burn Measure (SMBM) and the Pine Burn Measure (BM): none of these instruments allows a diagnosis, which must be completed with a clinical examination.

What are the risk factors for burnout?

Some risks are directly related to the nature of the work and working conditions, others are linked to the personality of the individual11.

Working conditions

  • work requirements: organizational changes, overwork, inappropriate management, inadequate means and objectives, activities that require sustained attention;
  • emotional demands: helping the relationship, dealing with death:
  • the lack of autonomy;
  • lack of support from management and/or colleagues ;
  • the lack of recognition;
  • conflicts of value;
  • job insecurity, fear of unemployment.

People at risk

Certain personality traits characterize people at risk of burnout:

  • idealism;
  • an important commitment to work, which becomes the center of existence;
  • a high professional consciousness;
  • perfectionism;
  • forgetting about oneself and one’s needs;
  • the inability to rest;
  • hyperactivity.

Other personality traits include:

  • anxiety;
  • the inability to delegate;
  • the fear of depending on others;
  • lack of self-esteem;
  • the desire to please everyone;
  • the fear of displeasure or annoyance;
  • the inability to say no;
  • inability to ask for help.

Physiological explanations

The following explanations are exhaustive and simplified, and refer only to the main mechanisms. Burnout is the result of chronic exposure to repeated stress over time.

From an evolutionary and physiological point of view, human beings are adapted to suffer acute stress and to respond to it, either by running away or by fighting. This is an ancestral mechanism that has allowed the survival of the human species.

The physiological response to this anxiety is threefold:

The alarm phase

It involves the hypothalamus-sympathetic-adrenergic axis, in which the hypothalamus (an area of the brain), the sympathetic nervous system (or activator) and the medulla-adrenal glands are involved.

The sense organs (sight, hearing, smell, touch) perceive the stressor and transmit the information to the limbic system of the brain.

The hypothalamus, a specific area of the brain receives this information and triggers a whole series of reactions that will facilitate escape or struggle. The first response is immediate and follows the path of the autonomic nervous system: it is automatic, unconscious.

The so-called “sympathetic” or “orthosympathetic” nervous system, a component of the autonomic nervous system, produces norepinephrine and activates the medullar-adrenal glands (central parts of the adrenal glands, glands located above the kidneys), which in turn produce adrenaline and norepinephrine.

These two substances, called catecholamines, increase heart rate, lung ventilation, alertness, acuity of the senses (pupil dilation), and blood sugar levels.

The muscles are under tension, the smooth muscle cells of the artery walls too, hence the increase in blood pressure.

Intestinal movements are slowed down and the sphincters of the digestive organs are closed: digestive function is not a priority.

The whole body is ready to fight or run, almost immediately, and everyone knows the expression “having an adrenaline rush” and the feeling associated with it.

In addition, two other areas of the brain are activated by norepinephrine: the amygdala and the hippocampus. The amygdala analyzes and quantifies the severity of the situation in relation to past experiences.

The hippocampus is responsible for memorizing the events experienced, it memorizes the new information.

The resistance phase

This is the “hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis” or “corticotropic axis”, in which the hypothalamus, pituitary and corticoadrenal glands are involved.

If the stressor persists, the hypothalamus activates the pituitary gland through the production of CRS (ACTH) or ACTH-releasing hormone.

The pituitary, in turn, activates the corticoadrenal glands, which produce cortisol, also known as hydrocortisone.

Cortisol is used to release energy from fats and carbohydrates to fuel muscle function. In addition, cortisol, like the drug “cortisone”, has an anti-inflammatory effect: the person can run very fast or be injured, and does not feel pain in the heat of the moment.

Cortisol also has the property of entering the brain and activating the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning. The hippocampus, in a physiological situation, will slow down the hypothalamus. This is a negative feedback control of the stress reaction.

In the resistance phase, the corticotropic axis remains active, with HRC and cortisol levels increasing and remaining high. This phenomenon is called the “burnout” phase.

HRC has a depressive and anxiety-inducing effect, which explains the symptoms of people under chronic stress: depression, anxiety.

Cortisol elevation is toxic to the hippocampus, which gradually loses its ability to slow down the hypothalamus and its ability to memorize lived events. This explains a degradation of immediate memory and learning abilities.

In addition, at the level of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), the levels of certain neurotransmitters decrease. These neurotransmitters are..:

  • Dopamine, the “happiness” hormone associated with attention, initiative and pleasure
  • Serotonin, the “well-being” hormone associated with a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.

The Exhaustion Phase

In situations of chronic labor stress, modern man cannot, most of the time, run away or fight. He suffers repeated stress, sometimes for long periods of time.

When the “burned out” state persists, the adrenal cortex glands are exhausted and cortisol production decreases. Hypotension may be a sign associated with adrenal exhaustion.

The person has no energy left. They are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. They are depressed, with a deficit of dopamine and serotonin. This phenomenon is called the “burnout” phase.

The person becomes susceptible to infection. In burned individuals, there is a reduction in the activity of certain immune defense cells, the natural killer cells, and a decrease in the CD4+/ CD8+ ratio. CD4+ T cells are lymphocytes (white blood cells) that amplify the immune response.

CD8s are suppressor or cytotoxic lymphocytes: they are able to prevent certain reactions and kill abnormal cells. The normal ratio is 2:1.

The decrease in the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ suggests an abnormal functioning of the immune system, with possible immunodeficiency12.

Depletion is associated with elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemical mediators of inflammation, and C-reactive protein, another marker of inflammation, both in the brain and systemically.

VEGF (Vascular-Endothelial Growth Factor) has increased circulation levels in burned individuals. VEGF triggers the formation of new blood vessels (which is not favorable in the case of cancer) and increases the permeability of the micro-vessels.

On the other hand, BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) has decreased circulation levels. BDNF promotes the survival of existing neurons and the formation of new ones.

It is present in the central and peripheral nervous system, with notable activity in the hippocampus and cortex. Decreasing BDNF levels suggest a decrease in the brain’s ability to maintain and repair itself.

Medical actions and treatments

Work stoppage

The treating physician who notices an employee’s exhaustion can prescribe a work stoppage.

Workstation Adaptation

After 3 months of absence from work, a medical examination is mandatory before resuming work with the occupational physician.

Upon return to work, the occupational physician may recommend a job accommodation or training to facilitate the employee’s reclassification or retraining.

The psychotherapeutic approach

Cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) may be recommended.

Their goal is to change the behavior in a given situation with the help of the therapist. CBT consists of exposing the patient to situations that cause anxiety in a gradual way and helping the patient to change his/her behavioral response.

Burnout medications

Antidepressant medications are usually prescribed.

The classes of antidepressants used belong to the class of serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are sometimes combined.

The aim of these substances is to increase the concentration of these neurotransmitters in the intersynaptic spaces, the junction points between two neurons.

Antidepressants are sometimes combined with anti-anxiety drugs. The most commonly used anxiolytics are benzodiazepines.

Burnout: natural treatment and natural solutions

What is the natural treatment to prevent and treat exhaustion? Discover all natural therapeutic approaches.

Relaxation techniques

Cardiac coherence shows a beneficial impact in case of exhaustion13.

It reduces the incidence of this syndrome and improves heart function.

It can be practiced three times 5 minutes a day, preferably before meals, which will be beneficial for people with digestive symptoms.

Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is of interest for the prevention of burnout among caregivers14.

Hypnosis would allow the person to mobilize his own resources to cope with exhaustion15.

Mind and body practices: yoga and tai chi

Its practice is associated with an increase in NFD, a factor of neural construction and plasticity. These discoveries confirm the interest of these mind-body practices in the prevention and accompaniment of exhaustion.

Mindfulness Meditation

A 2012 study of caregivers shows the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on burnout. This effectiveness is measured with the Maslach questionnaire, but the physical health parameters show no change in this study.

The effects of mindfulness meditation on NFD have also been documented.

The exercise

Physical exercise, another natural treatment, is effective in preventing exhaustion.

It is a regular exercise, playful if possible, adapted to the physical capacities of the person, practiced for a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week or more.

The bathrooms

Balneotherapy, a natural treatment that combines baths, massages and exercise for 3 weeks, improves some of the symptoms of exhaustion: fatigue, stress, decreased motivation and sleep quality. The improvements are maintained for 3 months after the cure.

Food

The first advice is to adopt certain principles of chrononutrition:

  • Adopt a breakfast rich in protein, therefore in tyrosine, the precursor of dopamine.
  • This breakfast, preferably organic, can contain for example one or two eggs (boiled, fried or omelette) or ham or salmon or chicken breast or vegetables.
  • Eat a meal containing an equal share of protein and carbohydrates + vegetables at lunchtime.
  • In the evening, eat a meal that is predominantly carbohydrate-based, without protein but rich in tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin. Dinner may contain, for example, brown rice and vegetables.

Fast sugars (sweet products, refined cereals) should be avoided and replaced by slow sugars (whole grains, legumes).

Foods rich in omega-3 are preferred (small fatty fish, rapeseed oil, camelina, flax, crushed flax seeds, chia seeds, certain nuts). Saturated fats (cheese, butter, deli, meat) and trans fats (margarines and processed products) should be limited.

Micronutrition

Magnesium

The Magnesium deficiency is involved in many mechanisms related to stress and burnout.

Magnesium is a stress modulator, through the following mechanisms

It is a natural calcium channel blocker. Calcium transmits the action of norepinephrine to the cells, because norepinephrine cannot pass through the lipid bilayer of the cell membranes.

Calcium enters the cell, causing a muscle contraction. When calcium enters, magnesium leaves. Magnesium is secondarily reabsorbed by the cell, but not completely.

What is not reabsorbed is eliminated through the urine.

Magnesium modulates the amount of calcium that enters the cell. If its level drops, more calcium enters and stress is self-amplified.

Magnesium is involved at many levels (over 400 biochemical reactions) in the energy production of the mitochondria, small “power plants” of all our cells, which transform carbohydrates into usable energy, ATP. Magnesium thus allows for better recovery and improved functioning of all organs.

Finally, magnesium acts against pain, which is interesting in the case of somatic disorders: back pain, migraines, etc.

Therefore, a stressed person overuses magnesium and has greater losses of magnesium. Its deficit increases with time. Intake of magnesium helps to prevent exhaustion and to get out of it.

Food and magnesium absorption

Some foods decrease the absorption of magnesium and increase its urinary elimination:

  • caffeine, contained in coffee, some soft drinks and energy drinks;
  • excess phosphorus (dairy products, soft drinks enriched with phosphoric acid)
  • alcohol.

This is also the case with some medications, such as diuretics or neuroleptics. Excess estrogen and, of course, stress amplify magnesium losses.

Finally, there is a genetic predisposition to lower magnesium fixation.

Magnesium deficiency affects to a greater or lesser extent almost the entire population and affects all people suffering from exhaustion.

Foods rich in magnesium are seafood, sardines, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, green leafy vegetables, buckwheat and legumes.

Burnout supplements

Supplementation is recommended, as well as a diet rich in magnesium.

The recommended dose for the cure of the attack is 400 to 600 mg per day of magnesium element in the form of magnesium citrate or magnesium bisglycinate or magnesium deglycerophosphate, to be taken during a meal containing fat for glycerophosphate.

People with digestive disorders will tolerate the latter two forms better.

The maintenance dose is 300 mg/day.

The duration of treatment varies from 1 month in general and up to 6 months, depending on the improvement of the signs.

Magnesium is generally well tolerated. It is contraindicated in rare cases: myasthenia gravis, severe bradycardia.

It should be taken at a distance from certain drugs whose absorption may be reduced: L-thyroxine, quinolones, tetracyclines, nitrofurantoin, bisphosphonates.

Taurine, vitamin B6, and arginine are often associated with magnesium in dietary supplements because they aid in intracellular magnesium retention. Contrary to popular belief, taurine is not a stimulant.

Tyrosine

Non-essential amino acid

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid. It is produced from phenylalanine. Tyrosine is converted into dopamine, which in turn is converted into norepinephrine.

Tyrosine and phenylalanine are contained in food, but the amino acids compete to enter the brain. In case of prolonged stress, tyrosine is used in excess and food intake is no longer sufficient.

Supplement

It is possible to supplement under medical supervision.

The recommended dose is 150 to 300 mg, sometimes more, which should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach.

Tyrosine is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women, in cases of malignant melanoma, hyperthyroidism, recent heart attack, pheochromocytoma.

It should be used with caution in cases of cardiac arrhythmia, schizophrenia, mania, hypomania, manic-depressive syndrome, and MAOI use.

The Omega-3s

Omega-3 plays a role in the fluidity of cell membranes. They are involved in the efficient transmission of nerve impulses at synapses, the junction areas between two neurons.

Red blood cells, responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood, have more fluid membranes if they contain more unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3.

As a result, red blood cells can more easily bend to circulate in the blood capillaries and supply all tissues with oxygen adequately. This suggests better functioning of the brain and the entire body.

In addition, omega-3s are an easily combustible energy source in the cell.

And finally, they are precursors of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, molecules that reduce inflammation. They have a protective role against neuroinflammation.

Vitamin C

This vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a necessary cofactor for the biosynthesis of catecholamines and the synthesis of corticoids in the adrenal glands26.

Likewise, vitamin C is not stored by the body.

A regular intake of foods rich in vitamin C is required: parsley, red bell pepper, raw cabbage, kiwi, citrus fruits, etc.

Supplementation can be considered in situations of exhaustion. Take 500 mg/day in several doses during meals.

Phytotherapy

Several categories of plants can be used to combat depletion, either as prevention or as accompaniment. They can act on anxiety, depression, energy level, inflammation and immunity. The list of plants mentioned below is not exhaustive.

Adaptogenic plants are defined as “a group of plants that increase attention and endurance during fatigue, and prevent and alleviate stress-induced damage and disorders of the neuroendocrine and immune systems”.

In addition, adapted plants should be free of toxicity at commonly used doses.

Plants in this category usually have several biological effects and their classification is not easy. The European Medicines Agency has validated, totally or partially, several plants from the following list as adaptogenic: Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus, Ashwaganda, Ginseng.

Rhodiola (Rhodiolarosea)

Also known as “Pink Spur”, this high mountain adaptogen plant belongs to the Crassulaceae family. It has long been used by people in Russia, China, the Nordic countries and Scandinavia to combat stress and fatigue.

The rhizome of rhodiolarose contains several active substances such as phenolic acids, triterpenes, monoterpenes, flavonoids, phenylethanol derivatives and phenylpropanoids such as rosavine, rosin and rosarin.

In recent studies, Rhodiola has proven effective in reducing certain symptoms related to exhaustion: anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, anhedonia and somatic symptoms.

The recommended dose is 400 mg/day of rhizome extract in capsule form. Rhodiola has no toxicity and is very well tolerated.

A risk of excitation and irritability is reported in case of overdose. As a precaution, its use is not recommended in pregnant and lactating women. Finally, Rhodiola is contraindicated in people suffering from bipolar disorders.

The Eleutherococcus

Eleutherococcus (Eleutheroccussenticosus), also known as “Siberian Ginseng” is a shrub native to Russia and the Far East.

It has been used since ancient times as an adaptogenic and stimulating plant. Reduces the level of corticosteroids in animals under stress.

It increases resistance to stress, has an anti-fatigue, anti-stress, hypoglycemic, neuroprotective, cardioprotective and immunostimulant action.

It can be used to prevent nervous exhaustion in cases of chronic stress, in cases of palpitations or tachycardia, to prevent recurrent infections.

Commonly used doses are 0.5 to 4 g per day of dry root powder capsules, taken in several doses.

It should be avoided in people with autoimmune diseases, pregnant and lactating women, children under 12 years old, in case of hypertension.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Its name literally means “remedy for everything”, with the same etymology as “panacea”.

The traditional Chinese medicine ginseng, of which the root is used, has many interesting properties in the prevention of exhaustion.

It has an anti-stress, anxiolytic action and regulates the excessive secretion of corticosteroids. It improves intellectual and physical capacities, is immunomodulating and regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates.

The usual dose is 800 mg to 2g/day as dry rhizome powder.

Ginseng is contraindicated in cases of hypertension, heart disease, psychosis.

Interacts with certain drugs: antidiabetics, anticoagulants, MAOIs, triptans.

The Ashwaganda (Whitania somnifera)

The Ashwaganda is a plant of the ayurvedic medicine (India), known for its tonic, regenerative, adaptogenic and anti-stress action. It is also known as “Indian Ginseng”.

Traditionally, fresh root powder is used.

Ashwaganda is recommended for people who have been under stress and weakened for a long time, who no longer have a libido.

It has an anti-stress action, regulating the production of adrenal cortisol, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory and anti-cancer properties. Improves mitochondrial health and energy levels.

It improves cognitive functions and, as its name suggests, improves the quality of sleep. It also has positive effects on the libido.

In the West it is most often found in the form of dry root powder capsules.

The dose is about 3 capsules of 350 mg per day, preferably at night. It is advisable to start with small doses and increase them gradually.

Ashwaganda is not recommended for pregnant women and in case of hyperthyroidism. If dosed too strongly, it can cause intestinal disorders and have hypnotic effects.

Licorice (Glycyrrhizaglabra) – adrenal glands

Licorice from the Fabaceae family is known and used worldwide in various traditional medicines. Its name comes from the Greek meaning “sweet root”. The parts used are the root and the rhizomes.

Licorice supports the adrenal glands by reducing their need to manufacture cortisol. It contains beta-glycyrrhetinic acid, which behaves like cortisol.

This allows the adrenals to rest and recover. Therefore, licorice helps restart cortisol production and is perfectly suitable in situations of exhaustion.

Licorice root extract has an anti-stress and antidepressant effect on rodents. The antidepressant effect may be due to the restoration of norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain.

Glycyrrhizin has been shown to inhibit monoamine oxidase (MAOI), an enzyme that degrades catecholamines (adrenaline, norepinephrine, serotonin). Therefore, it makes more adrenaline, norepinephrine, and serotonin available.

In addition, licorice has an impact on the immune system: in addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, it has an anti-allergic, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal action. It is interesting for people whose immunity is weakened and unregulated.

Licorice is sold in different galenic forms: herbal tea (2 cups/day of infusion with 4 g of dry root for 150 ml of boiling water), mother tincture (15 drops twice a day), capsules (follow manufacturer’s dosage).

Finally, it is indicated in certain digestive, stomach and intestinal disorders.

Licorice is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women, hypertensive people, renal failure. It can reduce potassium levels.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericumperforatum) or “St. John’s Wort”.

St. John’s wort, of the Hyperaceae family, has long been known and used in the West. The flowering tops are the parts used.

St. John’s Wort contains phenolic acids, coumarins, flavonoids, tannins, terpenic derivatives, essential oils of pinene, carbides and sesquiterpenes. The active ingredients are hypericin and hyperforin.

St. John’s wort is an antidepressant and anxiolytic, with several mechanisms of action: serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA and L-glutamate reuptake inhibitor. It acts on sleep disorders.

The usual dose of standardized dry extract is 300 mg 3 times a day.

The effects are felt after 2 to 4 weeks.

St. John’s wort can have side effects. It is photosensitizing. In rare cases it can cause allergic reactions, digestive problems, headaches, anxiety, insomnia.

Not recommended for people with bipolar disorder, pregnant and lactating women, and children under 6.

Interacts with many medications: birth control pills (microdose), immunosuppressants, antiretrovirals, anticoagulants, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, anti-migraines, digoxin, bronchodilators, statins.

If you are taking medication, a doctor’s advice is required before taking St. John’s wort.

Saffron (Crocus sativus)

Saffron, from the Iridaceae family, has been known and used for 5,000 years in India in Ayurvedic medicine, in the Mediterranean region (Morocco, Spain, Greece) and in China.

The parts used are the stigmas of the flower.

The active substances of saffron are terpenic aldehydes (saffron), glycosides (picrocrocine) and decarotenoids (coconut, crocetine).

Saffron is documented for some of its interesting benefits on exhaustion: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

It increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin. Its maximum effect is proven after 6 weeks of taking 30 mg/day of ethanolic extract.

Saffron is available in the form of stigmas powder: take 200 mg/day or in the form of hydroalcoholic stigmas extract: take 30 mg to 60 mg/day according to the manufacturer’s advice.

Saffron is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women. Interacts with certain drugs: antihypertensives, calcium channel blockers, anticoagulants, antidepressants, hypnotics, antidiabetics.

The Griffonia (Griffonia simplicifolia)

Native to Africa, this plant provides 5-HTP, the precursor of serotonin.

It is interesting to manage moderate depression, irritability, aggressiveness, sweet compulsions, sleep disorders associated with exhaustion. It exists in different galenic forms and is best taken at night, in a dose of 50 to 100 mg of 5-HTP.

Not recommended for pregnant and nursing women, children, and people with epilepsy.

It should be avoided if you are taking SRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

Passiflora (Passiflora incarnata)

Native to Central America, this climbing plant has beautiful flowers and was named “Flor de la Pasión” by the Spanish missionaries in Peru. It is the aerial parts of the plant that are used.

Passion flower is anxiolytic, antispasmodic. It is recommended in states of anxiety in adults and children with cardiovascular or digestive manifestations or with respiratory discomfort.

Improves the quality of sleep in case of difficulty in sleeping, restless sleep. It is very well tolerated, no drug interactions are known.

Phytotherapy, a natural treatment, can be interesting to relieve some symptoms of exhaustion. It is the same for certain therapeutic mushrooms.

Therapeutic mushrooms

Reishi or Ganoderma lucidum has documented antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.

Finally, we can mention gingko, astragalus, sacred basil, valerian, blackcurrant, bacopa monnieri, etc., as plants with interesting properties in the prevention and accompaniment of exhaustion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is burnout?

Exhaustion is a depletion that manifests itself in the following ways:
– Lack of energy – Loss of efficiency
– Withdrawal
of work

Burn-out: what natural treatments?

– Relaxation techniques, balneotherapy
Hypnosis; – Practice
of yoga and tai chi; –
Meditation; – Phytotherapy
and micronutrition; –
Regular physical activity.

Are plants less effective than medicines?

Unlike medicines, herbs contain a large number of active substances. Their field of action is wider, but less studied than that of medicines.
The side effects of plants may be less present, presenting a better benefit/risk balance.

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