Burnout, Fatigue, and Substance Use

One’s job is a cornerstone of their life, influencing every part of one’s day. From the financial gains, time spent in the workplace, and the people one is forced to work with, one’s job has a massive impact on one’s routine, lifestyle, and health (both physical and mental). 

However, regardless of one’s position, substance abuse and burnout can be a very real issue to cope with. Entry-level jobs to high-level CEO positions all suffer due to their mental and physical toll. While it is important to tend to professional responsibilities, it is just as important to prioritize self-care and create effective barriers around the workplace. This is important for addressing burnout before it can present debilitating effects.

The Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

Work can be frustrating. Even those holding positions of authority within a company are not immune to the constant barrage of frustrations, stress, and unpredictable hurdles that each day can present. However, while this stress can be constant, it is not necessarily burnout. Rather, burnout is a set of drastic symptoms that affect an individual both inside and outside of the workplace. 

Burnout is best considered as a feeling of unending stress, mental and physical fatigue. Some may experience an overall disillusionment of their work that directly impacts their performance and motivation to continue regular functioning. Regardless of the importance of one’s job, this feeling of being overworked can change one’s view of their profession from a positive experience to a wholly negative, stressful, and frustrating place to be. 

Some of the other signs of burnout may include:

  • Chronic tiredness
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Outbursts of frustration
  • Overly responsive to criticism or stress
  • Increased cynicism
  • Disinterested in spending time with friends or coworkers
  • Reduced professional performance
  • Compromised time-management
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Chronic headaches
  • Feeling heavy/lethargic
  • Avoidance of self-care

This feeling of pervasive frustration, the lack of ability to take pride in one’s accomplishments, dwindling motivation, and alienation from one’s coworkers can take a massive toll on one’s life. This creates a pessimistic worldview, even paving the way for stress to develop into depression and destructive coping strategies. 

Causes of Burnout

Burnout can manifest due to a number of different factors. For some, a personal sense of perfectionism can affect their stress levels in the workplace. Others may feel burnout as a result of unfair time constraints or deadlines coupled with an excessive workload. 

An unclear goal or job description can make it exceptionally trying to navigate the workplace effectively as well. Communication can also play a large role, whether due to a lack of communication with employees or excessive contact leaving little time for one to truly enjoy their personal time. 

The Emotional Toll of Burnout

Those in high-ranking professional positions can feel the increased weight of these stresses. Managing others, dealing with professional competition for one’s position, and the constant spotlight that looms over these high-ranking positions can take a large emotional toll. 

However, these feelings of disinterest, frustration, and a lack of motivation can then bleed into one’s life outside of the workplace. Fatigue can compromise one’s ability to engage in self-care activities. Frustration or a lowered tolerance for people can further separate oneself from their family and friends. Isolation, anger, depression, and a compromised sense of professional ability can all cause an individual to try to mitigate these symptoms to feel better, leading to the use of addictive and destructive substance use. 

Substance Abuse and Burnout

Burnout feels terrible. It can cause doubt while compromising one’s ability to pull oneself out of this debilitating mental state. Unfortunately, this can commonly lead to the use of addictive substances. Drugs and alcohol are fast-acting ways that can serve as a distraction from these stresses. Taking any kind of action to feel happy again, or to simply forget about the stresses of the workplace can be exceptionally tempting. 

While addictive substances provide this quick sense of respite, they do not address the problem of burnout at hand. These feelings can return even worse once the effects of such substances wear off. The precedent one sets for themselves by using these substances as a coping strategy can also be incredibly dangerous. 

While one may feel good for a moment, seeing addictive substances as a solution can quickly lead to the development of a substance abuse disorder or addiction. This can continue complicating one’s professional performance, mental state, and emotional wellbeing. 

Coping with burnout and substance abuse simultaneously is an incredibly trying task. Identification of the symptoms of burnout is essential to inform each individual when it may be time to reach out to professionals to cope with the stresses of one’s life and the use of drugs or alcohol that may have come as a result. 

Burnout can affect anyone in any kind of profession, and its effects can be felt throughout every aspect of one’s daily life. If you or a loved one are struggling with the effects of burnout, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope with the difficult effects it produces, we at Chateau Recovery can help you today. Our comforting facility located in Midway, Utah is prepared to help you personalize your healing journey. Individual and group therapy, yoga, art therapy, nutritional guidance, and more are available to you at our facility. All of these are backed by education and customized therapeutic approaches pertinent to your unique needs and goals in recovery, and we are ready to help you take the first, important step towards your own healing. For more information on how we can personalize a plan for you, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member at (435) 222-5225.