Burnout Officially A Medical Issue

Plenty of people know what burnout feels like. Workplace stress has been at an all-time high over the last decade, so if someone hasn’t felt burnout, well, kudos. However, this month, those at the World Health Organization have recognized burnout as being a real-life syndrome, and those feeling should seek a doctor as soon as possible.

According to officials at WHO, burnout results from chronic workplace stress that a person is not managing properly. The following are three characteristics of burnout:
1) Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion,
2) Increased mental distance from one’s job, or opinions of negativism or cynicism related to one’s career, or
3) Reduced professional efficacy

Burnout Is Now A Medical Term And Syndrome

In a press release, WHO officials say that in order for a doctor to recognize the syndrome, it must come specifically from work. However, if you feel burnout from anything other than work, it is not the syndrome.

They further explained that these symptoms must be specifically work-related. Feeling burned out from anything else doesn’t count. This definition is a refinement of the previous definition used in the 10th edition of the ICD that better identifies the phenomenon while still asserting it is not a medical condition in and of itself.

When it comes to the syndrome, it’s been around for some time now. Back in 1974, a psychologist by the name of Herber Freudenberger was using the term to describe “physical or mental collapse that comes with overwork or stress.”

Unfortunately, the syndrome tends to coincide with symptoms of depression. With that being said, the term has become controversial throughout the years. Many researchers argue that that burnout is a subset of depression and not a condition on its own.

Though it’s going to take more than a medical definition for change when it comes to burning out, at least there is recognition, which means we are on our way to living in a more caring world than before.