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Check-Up Before You Burn-out

On May 28th the World Health Organization (WHO) identified burn-out as an "occupational phenomenon" and listed it in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

Burn-out is defined as "a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." Many people experience workplace stress, and most people who do consider it to be a normal part of one's work life. Millennials would even call it "adulting". Society has so normalized workplace stress and burn-out that there is stigma attached to seeking solutions to address it. Even online comments in response to the WHO's release reveal people's attitude toward its classification, with many attributing it to "laziness".

However, the experience of burn-out has significant implications for one's physical and mental health in the long run. Physical health risks include heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic pain. Mental health risks associated with burn-out include insomnia and depression. These risks are why it is important to ask for or actively seek help to address the symptoms.

In the ICD-11, these are the characteristics of burn-out that you can look out for. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak with a medical or mental health professional:

  • 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.

If you think you are at risk of, or are experiencing burn-out, and would like to discuss how therapy can help, you can contact me for a complimentary consult.

Remember, you don't have to go at this alone.


Salvagioni, D., Melanda, F. N., Mesas, A. E., González, A. D., Gabani, F. L., & Andrade, S. M. (2017). Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies. PloS one, 12(10), e0185781. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185781

World Health Organization: "Burn-out an "occupational phenomenon": International Classification of Diseases". 2019.

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