Richard G. Petty, MD

Burnout and the Adrenal Glands

I have talked about burnout and the myth that it is caused by “adrenal fatigue.”

I saw some research (NR620) at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Diego, California last month that further nails the idea.

The investigators were from Ege University in Izmir, Turkey, and they looked at 37 people with burnout and did a battery of psychological and endocrine investigations.

The burnout group had:

  • Higher levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization
  • Higher depression and anxiety scores on the Beck depression and Beck anxiety inventories
  • Higher scores on the global symptom index

The people with burnout did not have any differences in cortisol levels either at rest or after the investigators did a standard test to stimulate the adrenal glands. They reported exhaustion, but it was NOT caused by a problem with their adrenal glands.

I know that there are still plenty of people promoting the idea of adrenal fatigue, and there are many who sell their services online. The evidence that we have so far indicates that the adrenal glands of most people with burnout seem to be just fine.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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