Updated: May 12, 2021
“A year into the coronavirus pandemic, many in the academic scientific workforce are experiencing a state of chronic exhaustion known as burnout. Although it is not a medical condition and can occur in any workplace where there is stress, burnout is recognized by the World Health Organization as a syndrome. Its symptoms are physical and emotional, and include feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from and feelings of negativity or cynicism towards one’s job; and a reduced ability to do one’s work.
At its core, burnout is caused by work that demands continuous, long-term physical, cognitive or emotional effort.”
This excerpt was taken from an article by Virginia Gewin published in Nature journal. In the article she discusses “burnout” as a syndrome of overwork. Check out the full article here.
I highlighted this passage for several reasons. First, the author points out that ‘although it is not a medical condition, burnout is recognized by the World Health Organization as a syndrome’. Well thank you WHO. This happens so often in modern medicine where we create these diagnoses not based on the cause of disease, but on the symptoms that can be treated with medication. Let that sink in.
I spend a fair amount of my time in practice simply explaining to patients why their “diagnosis” is not actually the root ca
use of their illness. And why we must identify the root cause of the illness if we truly want to heal. In the above scenario the root cause is clear- burnout is caused by overworking oneself in the absence of self-care. This a pretty standard cause of ANY disease if you ask me.
What if the medical system started to recognize and treat the cause of disease like Naturopathic Doctors are trained to do? In this scenario the Rx would look something like this: Take 2 weeks off, go on vacation with your family. While on vacation eat three meals a day made with fresh, local fruits and vegetables and some high quality protein. Move your body every day, sleep at least 8 hours per night. Spent time in the sunshine, preferably during the peak hours to maximize vitamin D absorption and drink half your body weight in water daily. Limit alcohol and electronics. Have sex at least once per day. Come back in 2 weeks and tell me how you feel.
Why shouldn't this be the standard?
I guarantee if everyone did this twice per year our health and productivity as a nation would significantly improve.
Unfortunately this isn't the standard. Instead of recognizing a disease state when it first begins the conventional system says...well, there is nothing we can do for this (read: there is no pill) so come back in 6 months when things get worse and we’ll see what we can do then.
The problem with ignoring symptoms and waiting for things to worsen is that we potentially allow disease to progress into a state that is irreversible. Ignoring symptoms is like ignoring your toddler screaming (a sound that is fresh in my mind), we can ignore the screams but that won't make the toddler less hungry or less tired or need less attention from you...it just makes the toddler more angry and more likely to start throwing things. Your body is the same way. The symptoms are telling you something needs attention- like your check engine light in your car. Ignore the symptoms and eventually things start breaking down until the engine stops working.
What have you been ignoring? In today’s climate I highly recommend you get your engine checked and start working on optimizing your immune system. Shot or no shot expect to encounter many new infectious agents and environmental toxicants in the near future. Maximize your chance of long term survival by optimizing your immune system and cleaning up your detox pathways BEFORE they become sick.
Dr. Terra Winston
Originally published 03-18-2021
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