‘Burnout’ may have become the latest millennial buzzword, but it’s not to be taken lightly – ignoring the signs can lead to serious mental and physical symptoms.
A ‘Burnout’ is a severe stress condition that can lead to serious physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Although they’re not always easy to spot, they are brought on by continuous stressful situations, for example caring for ill family members, working long hours or receiving upsetting news.
The physical symptoms of a burnout include feeling drained, lowered immunity and a change in appetite or sleep habits. Paired with the sense of failure, loss of motivation and detachment and those suffering from burnouts can be hard to cure.
If left untreated, a burnout can lead to more serious conditions like depression, heart disease and diabetes. So how can we help a family, friend or ourselves avoid the worst-case scenario?
Turning to others
Reaching out to those closest to you doesn’t make you a burden. Most friends and family will be on hand for you to confide in and help to resolve the issue.
Although we have spent the past year in lockdown, being more sociable with those around you can be a great distraction and ease any worries that you’re alone or disconnected. Going for walks with friends or taking part in online group calls can help you to realise who is there for you.
Limiting your contact with negative people can help to lighten your mood as spending time with negative-minded people can drag down your mood and outlook – not helpful when dealing with stress.
Change your outlook on work
If your job feels like you’re under-appreciated or drowning in work, an effective way to combat job burnout is by speaking to your colleagues and management.
Speaking with your manager about the overload of assignments and the effects of your current situation, most executives will take this on board and help relieve you of the amount of work, offer a holiday or do what they can to make you feel happy in the workplace. We all need a break occasionally.
Finding a balance is also important. You need to be able to find the middle ground between work, hobbies, family and friends. These are great ways to distract you from workplace stress.
If you feel work has lost its ‘spark’, consider looking for a new job. Life is too short to be unhappy at work and if the negative feelings can’t be adjusted by your manager, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.
Although technology is a wonderful thing, we can often find ourselves scrolling for hours without realising the impact it has on our mental health. Excessive use can cause feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
Make sure you take frequent breaks from technology when you can. Putting the phone down and picking up a book or enjoying some fresh air can massively boost your mood. You may not realise how reading the negative news stories or feeling FOMO (fear of missing out) can impact you. And remember, social media often isn’t real life.
Medication and CBD products
It’s well-known that using CBD products can help reduce anxiety, pain and lift your mood. Particularly last year, anxiety and stress were highly reported due to the Covid-19 pandemic, where people resorted to CBD products to manage such stressors.
The calming effects of Cannabidiol make an effective anxiety treatment, which is a big factor in burnouts. The product may assist you to relax and rest without feeling like you’re on the edge and from burning out while trying to be productive.
Almost all CBD users say they feel less stressed
New data shows that people are most likely to report using CBD products to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as to improve their quality of sleep, but THC also has a role to play in finding “mental equilibrium”.
A team of researchers from the UK and Denmark conducted an online survey of 387 subjects experienced with the use of CBD.
Participants in the survey resided primarily in the UK, Denmark, and the US.
Mitigating Anxiety was the top-ranked reason for the use of CBD with 43 percent of respondents reporting that they take CBD for this reason. Of these, 87 percent said they felt less anxious afterwards.
This was followed by sleep problems – with 43 percent reporting that they used CBD to help them sleep better, to reduce stress (37 percent), and for purposes of “general health and well-being” (37 percent), with 92 percent of those reporting reduced stress levels afterwards.
Seventy percent of those surveyed reported having only initiated the use of CBD within the past 12 months.
Writing in the Journal of Cannabis Research, authors concluded: “CBD is used for a wide range of physical and mental health symptoms and improved general health and well-being. A majority of the sample surveyed in this study found that CBD helped their symptoms, and they often used doses below 50 mg. Out of the four most common symptoms, three were related to mental health.
“Self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems constitute some of society’s biggest health problems, but we lack adequate treatment options. Further research is needed into whether CBD can efficiently and safely help treat these symptoms.”
The survey was led by Dr Julie Moltke, a prescriber of medical cannabis in Denmark and author of A Quick Guide to CBD.
Specialising in pain, stress and mental health, Dr Moltke has carried out extensive work into stress reduction and has seen cannabis help many of her patients find “mental equilibrium”.
She told Cannabis Health that while she has experienced first-hand the benefits of CBD for relieving stress and anxiety, THC also has a role to play.
“Cannabis is an extremely promising drug for the treatment of mental health concerns,” said Dr Moltke.
“I tend to use CBD a lot for anxiety and for stress, but I also work with many people with chronic pain who use medical cannabis containing THC, and there’s no doubt that this also has great effects on their quality of life and anxiety.”
She continued: “The tendency to overthink and worry is removed by cannabis. I have a lot of patients who are really benefiting from the combination of THC and CBD, which seems to establish that mental equilibrium and have a balancing effect on their mental health.”
Although no psychiatric diagnoses are approved for treatment with cannabis-based medicines yet in Denmark, many of Dr Moltke’s patients living with chronic pain and fibromyalgia also display symptoms of anxiety and Complex PTSD (CPTSD), which is caused by social trauma, such as emotional abuse or a traumatic event in childhood.
“Often in young people with fibromyalgia and unexplained chronic pain there is some kind of trauma at the root of their PTSD and mental suffering,” said Dr Moltke.
“This group of patients respond best to medical cannabis because it can help their pain but it also helps balance the endocannabinoid system and treat the chemical imbalances that have been triggered by the trauma.
“We see a lot of people self-medicating with cannabis to treat the symptoms of PTSD and social anxiety, but as we are not authorised to use cannabis for these conditions, we can only look at it as a secondary outcome.”
Can CBD help you cope with grief?
The loss of a loved one is something we will all experience at one time or another, and while there’s certainly no magic cure, CBD could help you manage some of the common symptoms of grief.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote that ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’.
As such, the grieving process is something we will face at least once in our lives, although all too often it is something we don’t talk about.
And, while time may be the ultimate healer, there are other ways of dealing and living with grief.
What is grief?
According to the NHS, common symptoms include shock, tiredness, anger or guilt, often following a clear pattern of stages.
In many cases, grief can also manifest itself as a physical pain or inflammation.
Many of those stages mirror those of mental health conditions such as depression or PTSD, for which CBD is shown to bring a degree of relief.
How can CBD help?
In studies, CBD has been found to reduce physical pain and inflammation, relieve anxiety and ease panic attacks, offering therapeutic benefits for disorders related to traumatic events.
CBD produces its effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid system; a network that keeps the body in homeostasis by regulating appetite, body temperature, blood pressure, metabolism, pain and mood.
Researchers believe that CBD is able relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety by binding to the CB1 receptor within the endocannabinoid system.
The CB1 receptor is believed to reduce nervous system inflammation and regulate the body’s response to serotonin, or the ‘happy hormone’.
Furthermore, cannabinoid cannabinol (CBN) can also act as a sedative; during times of stress and grief, getting a good night’s sleep can be elusive.
In grief, many people may turn to alcohol or food to provide comfort, which is especially concerning when we take into account the fact that grieving individuals are more vulnerable or prone to substance abuse, dependence and addiction.
The NHS warns against using cigarettes, gambling or drugs to deal with grief, as these can all contribute to poor mental health overall.
And some early evidence suggests that CBD can actually be used to treat alcohol dependency and even quit smoking.
Alongside CBD, there are other measures you can take to help with the grieving process, although it is worth remembering that this process will be different for everyone – there is no right way to grieve.
Many people find it beneficial to talk, whether to friends, family or professionals. Cruse Bereavement Care offers specialist services for the bereaved, no matter when the death occurred.
Additionally, looking after your overall mental health is important during the grieving process. A healthy diet, fresh air and exercise all play a part, however small, in recovering from grief and moving forward, as well as making you physically stronger too.
While more research is needed into using CBD as a specific remedy for grief, it is clear that it may ease many of the associated symptoms – without the harmful side effects that may accompany other remedies.
Along with other actions mentioned above, incorporating CBD into your daily routine in whichever form you choose could bring relief from both the mental and physical effects of the grieving process.
New cannabinoid treatments to focus on mental health
New formulations of cannabinoid treatments are being developed to focus on women’s health and mental illness as the pandemic adds pressure to tackle the mental health crisis.
Research company, Spectral Analytics Precision Tele-Monitoring, which focuses on supplementation of the endocannabinoid system, has begun developing new formulations designed to help patients with mental health and women’s health issues.
The new formulations will be developed to help those particularly struggling to overcome PTS, depression, ADHD, bi-polar, endometriosis, immunodeficiency, and weight management.
It comes as the coronavirus pandemic creates a growing demand for mental health awareness and the need for clinical research to develop more effective formulations is greater than ever before.
A recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that from June 24-30, 2020, adults in the US reported “considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.”
The CDC survey also found that 40.9 percent of 5,470 respondents reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder, trauma-related symptoms, new or increased substance use, or thoughts of suicide.
Christina DiArcangelo, CEO of Spectral Analytics Precision Tele-Monitoring commented: “I am so very pleased to announce our focus in mental health and women’s health phytocannabinoid treatments.
“We are shining a light on the fact that this patient population has been forgotten in drug development.”
DiArcangelo added: “In addition, with the negative impacts this pandemic has had on mental health, we feel a responsibility to step up and provide relief.”
Spectral Analytics Precision Tele-Monitoring is a nutraceutical research company with the fundamental premise that phytocannabinoid supplementation of the endocannabinoid system through the use of cannabinoids and other nutraceuticals will improve health.
The company is hoping to have its first round of formulations complete by late spring/summer 2021.
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