Getting to the Bottom of Burnout

On 28th May 2019, the World Health Organization announced that burnout would be included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). However, while it is included in the ICD-11, it is not classified as a medical condition, but rather as an occupational phenomenon.

This may be confusing to some, but the chapter which features burnout includes reasons why people contact health services, but for conditions that are not classed as illnesses or health conditions. Here’s everything you need to know about the occupational phenomenon burnout.

The Definition and Symptoms of Burnout

As per the ICD-11, burnout is a syndrome which develops as a result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” There are 3 specific symptoms of burnout and if you’re experiencing the following, we suggest visiting your GP as soon as possible:

  • Feelings of chronic exhaustion or energy depletion
  • An increased mental and emotional distance from your job or negative feelings and cynicism related to your job
  • A reduced ability to perform efficiently at work

While you may be experiencing some of these symptoms generally, burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and cannot be used to describe experiences in other areas of life.

An Occupational Phenomenon

If you are experiencing the above symptoms and you do visit your GP for diagnosis, it’s important that they take the necessary steps to rule out anxiety and mood disorders before diagnosing you with burnout. If an Australian online pokies session helps you feel better, you may not have burnout.

Burnout refers specifically to an extended exposure to work place stress where the complainant does not take steps to manage this stress effectively. Because there is no outlet, these feelings of stress eventually become overwhelming to the point where the individual is no longer of capable of maintaining the occupation. Extended exposure to stress is not only mentally and emotionally taxing, but also has devastating effects on your physical health.

Attempting to Understand Burnout

Herbert J. Freudenberger was a German-born American psychologist who spent the vast majority of his career studying stress, chronic fatigue, and substance abuse. In 1974, Freudenberger published a scientific article which is credited as inaugurating the formal study of the state of burnout. Over the decades following, hundreds more studies were completed on the subject.

However, even though there were plenty of studies on burnout, many of them focused on the causes as opposed to developing specific diagnostic criteria. As a result, there was a continued ambiguity and vagueness surrounding the concept of burnout.

The Prevention and Treatment of Burnout

It has been suggested that as a way to prevent burnout, that individuals should reach out to loved one for support, be more sociable with co-workers, and limit your contact with negative people.

If you are suffering from burnout, exercise has to be made a priority as this helps with the effects of stress on the body and mind. Eating a balanced diet is also important, as is getting enough sleep.