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Does Anxiety Lead to Faster Burnout?

Many mental health issues overlap. We can find this with anxiety and burnout. Given the connection, you may wonder whether anxiety leads to faster burnout. In this blog, we will attempt to answer the question.

Understanding Burnout

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t function anymore? You no longer felt motivated. Your performance levels dropped. If you’ve experienced this, you may have been going through burnout. Burnout is a mental health issue caused by severe stress and fatigue. The symptoms most notably impact performance in daily responsibilities like work, school, and self-care. It can also include the following:

  • Negative emotions
  • Inability to focus
  • Anxiety
  • Mentally withdrawing from social circle
  • Muscle aches
  • Lack of motivation
  • Cynical thoughts
  • Decreased sense of accomplishment
  • Frequent sickness
  • Changes in sleep and eating habits
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Constant fatigue

These symptoms clearly overlap with depression. While this may be true, burnout also significantly aligns with anxiety. Symptoms like inability to focus, changes in sleep, and lack of motivation can come from a depressed state. In contrast, these symptoms may also come from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

A Meta-Analysis of Anxiety and Burnout

Psychologists have studied the correlation between anxiety and burnout for many years. Rather than looking at individual studies, it will prove more advantageous to look at a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis published on Frontiers in Psychology. The researchers combined data from 34 studies, spanning over 11 years, about anxiety and burnout.

First, the researchers looked to see if anxiety and burnout were the same. The data indicated that they were two separate concepts. Second, they looked at how strongly the two issues overlap. The studies combined examined people who did both the tests for anxiety and burnout. Forty-six percent of respondents received both diagnoses at once. As a result, we can state that these two problems relate strongly to one another.

The Cycle of Burnout and Anxiety

Many people who experience both anxiety and burnout cycle between the two. Why do people cycle through burnout and anxiety? This may be attributed to the causes of both issues. As discussed above, burnout comes from stress and fatigue. This raises another question: what causes that stress and fatigue?

Well, cortisol, the stress hormone, can increase with anxiety. High cortisol levels can also cause anxiety. With the bidirectional nature, we can reasonably speculate that anxiety can both come from and cause stress. It would make sense that a person oscillates between anxiety, burnout, and both at once. To answer the initial question, it seems that, yes, anxiety can lead to faster burnout and vice versa.

As established above, there’s a clear connection between anxiety and burnout. One can cause the other, which causes the other. This creates a vicious cycle in which you’re constantly overstressed, anxious, unmotivated, and struggling to control your thoughts. If you’re going through this cycle right now, there’s a way out. You can seek professional help. At The Guest House, we can help you identify the stressors causing your anxiety and burnout. From there, you’ll work through different forms of therapy to mend the issue. Call us at (855) 483-7800 to start healing today.