Although the term “burnout” is widely used today and was first used by a specialist (Herbert J. Freundenberger) in 1974, burnout was not considered a diagnosable syndrome until the appearance of the ICD-11, “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems”. This Is the official standard diagnostic tool for specialists. This means that burnout is not a recognized disease. This is partly due to the fact that there has been no complete clarification of the main and secondary symptoms that must be present in the case of burnout. It is also very difficult to differentiate it from depression, since the symptoms that patients attribute to it are very similar to those of depression, as you can see below.

The WHO, the World Health Organization, has updated and summarized the existing definitions of burnout as follows: The basic prerequisite is the connection between the symptoms and the patient’s professional life; the term “burnout” must therefore not be used for other areas. Chronic stress at the workplace results in a negative attitude towards the job and lower performance.

Accordingly, the syndrome in ICD 11 will cover three dimensions:

1.) A feeling of exhaustion

2.) An increasing mental distance or negative attitude to one’s own job

3.) Reduced professional ability

As this feeling of exhaustion is also one of the main symptoms of depression, it will definitely be necessary to have the two disorders clarified by a specialist and to specifically exclude the other symptoms of depression.

Since there is a lot of overlap, many “burnout” patients benefit from an antidepressive therapy or psychoeducation because it helps them to develop healthy boundaries and to get more in touch with their own needs and health. Try out our psychoeducation programme and see what it can do for you!

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