Webster’s dictionary defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”
If burnout is not treated, it can cause depression, anxiety and distractibility. It can affect not only work relationships, but personal relationships as well.
Until now, burnout has been called a stress syndrome. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated its definition.
It now refers to burnout as “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” in the organization’s International Classification of Diseases diagnostic manual.
A change in definition may help remove the stigma that surrounds burnout.
When stress reaches an all-time high, it becomes harder to manage sadness, anger, and guilt. This may result in panic attacks, anger outbursts, and substance use.
However, changing the definition of burnout can help dissolve the myth that it is “nothing serious” and can help those who need it get the occupational support they require.
Hopefully, with the WHO changing the definition of burnout, more attention can be placed on this considerable public health epidemic that is so prevalent in the workplace and can address people’s symptoms and suffering.