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It’s Official — Burnout is a Medical Condition

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 4, 2019


The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared that burnout is a medical condition and added it to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Burnout is defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

Also included in the statement is a broad definition of burnout:

  Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

  Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

  Reduced professional efficacy

WHO said the designation is mostly aimed at the workplace. “Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life,” the statement said.

The publication Psychology Today took the WHO designation and listed five ways to help you define whether you are burned out or not.

It is difficult to cope with workplace stress: WHO says burnout is more than just stress. It is at the core of the concern. Stress can be handled with some coping mechanisms. Burnout comes from those coping systems not working.

Drained from work: When work exhausts you or depletes all of your energy, you are burned out. To test this go back to a time when you put in the same amount of hours and same amount of work and ended that amount of time feeling invigorated. Burnout says you are more mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted by that same work.

You find no pleasure in your work: Even if your job is exhausting, you still feel connected, that you have a purpose and fulfilled by your work. When you are burned out you have no pleasure in work at all.

Negative feelings about work: When you are burned out thoughts about work brings up negative emotions. You find yourself cynical and negative. It becomes more and more difficult to connect positives to work.

You don’t feel you can accomplish your work obligations: When stress in the workplace becomes chronic you become less efficient. You doubt your ability. This doubt includes work you are normally very competent doing. This — in turn — impedes your motivation, functionality and productivity.

The publication says if you’re feeling any of these things, you are burned out and need to seek assistance from a trained professional.

WHO also added two new conditions to the list:

  Compulsive sexual behavior as a mental disorder

  It is not an addiction as some have suggested

  Video gaming

The list removes transgenderism as a mental disorder. It is now a “condition related to sexual health.”

Source links: Psychology Today, The Straits Times, Quartz at Work, The Daily Mail

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