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Think you're burnt out? Here are the signs and symptoms

Think you're burnt out? Here are the signs and symptoms

It’s a word that has become increasingly commonplace in today’s world. Now, the term has been further legitimated as the World Health Organization (WHO) included “burnout” in its International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems handbook.

The WHO acknowledged burnout as one of the factors influencing health in the book that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases.

The phenomenon is included in the latest version of the handbook following a review by the 194 member states to the World Health Assembly.

Burnout itself is described as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. The WHO also noted, “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

According to the handbook, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they have the symptoms of:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout is not exactly a new problem – it has been the subject of scientific studies for more than 40 years, according to a 2017 literature review. Researchers found in as early as the 1970s that people could experience burnout from a chronically stressful work environment.

If you are experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit lifeline.org.au or beyondblue.org.au.