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Tijdschr Psychiatr. 2012;54(6):517-26.

[Neuro-endocrine correlates of burnout].

[Article in Dutch]

Author information

1
Johanna.Verhaeghe@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The symptoms of burnout are similar to those of depression on the one hand and chronic fatigue syndrome on the other hand. However, the neuro-endocrine correlates of these two syndromes are the opposite, the former being a hyperfunction of the hypothalamic-hypophysial-cortical axis (HPA) and the latter being a hypofunction of the hpa-axis.

AIM:

To find out, via a systematic review of the literature, whether burnout is associated with either a hyperfunction or a hypofunction of the HPA-axis.

METHOD:

We searched PubMed using the following search terms: 'burnout syndrome and burnout', 'adrenocorticotropic hormone', 'corticotropin releasing factor', 'hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis' and 'cortisol'. We retrieved 16 original articles en one meta-analysis were included in the study.

RESULTS:

Functional stress testing showed hypersuppression of the HPA-axis after dexamethasone. Basal cortisol values were found to be less conclusive, although a meta-analysis pointed to a negative association between burnout and cortisol. We did not find any studies that were carried out with the help of physiological, physical or psychological stress factors in burnout.

CONCLUSION:

Burnout is associated primarily with a hypofunction of the HPA-axis, which is a neuro-endocrine characteristic of exhaustion, rather than of depression. However, further studies involving functional stress testing are needed in order to map the neuro-endocrine profile fully and to clarify the link with the deregulation of the immune system.

PMID:
22753184
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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