Burnout is a situation in which people and their bodies no longer function as they should.
Peter is completely drained and has lost his life force.
Peter comes into the office and doesn´t even have enough energy to have a short conversation with me. He tells me about a life filled with time pressure, a strong involvement in work, a competitive attitude and targets that increased annually. A life of forcing cars to make way for him on the highway, hitting his head tens of times during the murderous drive along the highway and thinking that there is relaxation waiting for him once he reaches the golf course. He describes never once waking up feeling rested in the past years, inner unrest, weak concentration and mild amnesia. Yet each time, he had once again pulled up his sleeves and pushed himself to ignore the fact that he felt rotten. After talking for half an hour, I indicate to Peter that he has reached the point of burnout, the end phase of a long and debilitating process.
When ´too much´ comes into play, the brain reacts with a specific response. The hypothalamus (the thermostat) communicates with the pituitary gland (regulates hormonal processes) which releases ACTH into the bloodstream. When the ACTH reaches the receptors in the adrenal glands, it stimulates cortisol production. Cortisol has an immediate negative effect on memory, drains the body of energy. When the cortisol levels rise, more adrenaline is produced which has a negative effect on concentration. Adrenaline also drains the body of energy and increases muscle tension. If this situation drags on for too long, signs and symptoms appear such as a decrease in thinking ability, extreme exhaustion and joint/muscle pain. In other words: one has reached the point of burnout.
How often does it occur?
1 in 10 people suffer from burnout symptoms in the western world. This is an extreme world health problem that costs billions of euros in health care and loss of productivity. At present people’s minds are being flooded with information, they are being mentally strangled by obligations and requirements. And perfectionism is being rewarded and not tempered.
Perfectionism as catalyst.
Each person has his or her limits. One person can run very fast for a short period of time, the other can keep running for a long time. One is good at maths, the other is good at languages. In this way, everyone functions within his own physical limits. But there are factors forcing people to perform excellently within a certain period of time, for example during exams. The pressure to perform well can be so great that it is exhausting and a period of rest is needed to recover. You have then gone past your physical limits. This situation is called adaptive perfectionism and means that you go beyond your limits briefly, recover and then stay within your own limits again afterwards. We call it maladaptive perfectionism when someone constantly goes beyond his limits, becomes seriously ill and burnout occurs. In this situation, the brain and the body do not function properly anymore.
The Centre for sociotechnology and neuropsychology (CSN) offers an intensive treatment programme abroad to give people who suffer from burnout, insight into its root causes and how it’s almost always a combination of maladaptive perfectionism and environmental characteristics. The goal is to find out why you are constantly going beyond your limits. When the root causes have been uncovered, you can then do something about it. This gives your body the chance to enter the state of recovery. Only then, can brain and body start to recover. We help you to get a better understanding of the origin of perfectionism, teach you how to change this and how to maintain a rhythm of life during which recovery can take place. We bring you back from bad to good!
The treatment program can be followed in either Northern Spain (Roses) or Dubai. The choice is yours. It is important that you take the metaphorical first step away from your home/working environment to acquire the insights that will lead to a decrease in complaints. The intensive counselling consists of a week-long program in either of the above mentioned foreign countries. An intake and neuropsychological examination will take place in the Netherlands prior to departure. A further 8 sessions will take place in the Netherlands after the trip. The groups have a maximum size of 3 to 4 people.