Burnout is now an official medical diagnosis, according to the World Health Organization

Most professionals, regardless of their industry, have felt it: fatigue, lack of concentration, difficulty performing minor tasks and chronic stress.

In today’s corporate culture that values ​​”jostle“on everything else, Burnout has become commonplace, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has considered it an official medical diagnosis. Here’s why it matters and what it means if you’re suffering from burnout.

Read more: 7 signs you’re suffering from burnout – and how to fix it

What is burnout?

Do you feel completely overwhelmed at work? It’s like a burnout. This condition is now classified as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed”, in the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) under “Problems related to employment or unemployment. “

This classification marks an important step in the treatment of work-related stress and other health complications.

Even though the researchers called it “one of the most discussed mental health issues in modern societies“and noted the prevalence rate of up to 69% in some groups, such as healthcare professionals, burnout did not have a true diagnosis until May 2019.

Now, people suffering from burnout can get medical assistance and advice to help them manage their symptoms.

How will doctors diagnose burnout?

According to the WHO, the official diagnosis of burnout understand :

  1. “Feelings of exhaustion or energy exhaustion;
  2. Increased mental distance from work, or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to work; and
  3. Reduced professional efficiency “

The WHO says that before diagnosing burnout, doctors should first rule out other conditions, including:

Additionally, physicians, psychologists, and other diagnostic professionals should limit the diagnosis of burnout to work environments and should not apply it to other situations, such as relationships or family life.

If you feel chronically exhausted or frustrated with your job, keep making small mistakes, or feel stuck in a cycle of unproductiveness, you may want to see your doctor. Even though this is not about burnout, it is worth considering.


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Why does burnout occur?

Burnout occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally and mentally drained, and unable to meet the constant demands of the job. As stress continues to mount, you may feel hopeless, selfless, and resentful about your professional life.

According to the American Institute of Stress, Americans now working longer and harder than before: In one generation, the number of hours worked has increased by 8% to an average of 47 hours per week.

Some others surprising statistics from the Stress Institute:

  • 25% of workers felt like screaming or screaming due to stress at work
  • Almost 50% of workers say they need help learning to deal with stress
  • More than a third of workers (35%) say they feel their work is harming their physical or emotional health

And some National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health:

  • 40% of workers say their job is very or extremely stressful
  • 75% of employees think stress at work is much higher than it was a generation ago
  • Workers associate stress at work with health problems more than they associate financial or family problems with health problems

Modern work cultures keep people constantly connected – between email, messaging platforms like Slack, project management tools like Asana and more, it’s no surprise that people feel like ‘they can never shut down their professional life.

Many professionals, especially millennials, internalized the idea that more work is always better, or that they have to work all the time to be successful. This internalization leads to chronic overproduction and can cause lethargy and lack of motivation.

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How to treat burnout

The WHO has yet to indicate what the appropriate medical treatment for burnout is, but there are some things you can do while you wait.

A good first step is to disconnect, in particular from information related to the workplace. Try to turn off notifications for apps like Slack, Asana, and even email if you can.

Limit your time spent on professional communication platforms as much as possible. For example, check your email once in the morning, once at noon, and once in the afternoon rather than keeping it open all day. This will give you more time and energy to concentrate on your current tasks.


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Limit your time on social media, especially when taking breaks at work. Instead, chat with a coworker, take a short walk, or do anything that doesn’t require you to stare at a screen and consume more information.

Also set limits on your time and desires. For example, don’t feel pressured to attend events that aren’t mandatory, even if they’re work-related. If you can’t answer with a definite yes, you should probably say no.

Practicing meditation, get enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and making sure you are spending enough quality time with friends and family can also help offset the effects of burnout.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.


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