burn out at work

Constantly accumulated workplace stress leads to occupational exhaustion. Occupational Exhaustion Syndrome (Burn-out) is included by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an “occupational phenomenon”. However, it is not classified as a medical condition.

Burn-out is defined in ICD-11 as follows:

“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

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

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

The feelings of energy depletion may be resulting from the feeling of fatigue and often from sleeping troubles, that represent a broader sign of stress. Stress may also have physical symptoms, such as: panic attacks, chest pain, headaches and muscular tension, nausea, dizziness, indigestion, heartburn and constipation or diarrhoea, that increase the gravity of the problem.

Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, may be falling withing a broader sign of stress, such as depression. Another sign of stress might be the feeling of being detached or alone, as well as the sense of losing interest in or motivation to have fun. If you used to enjoy your job, the feeling of distance from it, or the feeling of negativism related to it, might be a sign of exhaustion.

Finally, reduced professional efficacy may be stemming from several or from all the above-mentioned stressful symptoms and conditions that affect your capacity to work effectively.

Exhaustion is not a condition that subsides by itself. On the contrary, it may deteriorate, unless the underlying issues generating it are addressed. If you ignore the signs of occupational exhaustion, this could potentially cause further damage to your physical and mental health in the future, which could have adverse impacts on other aspects of your life as well.