World Health Organization: Burnout is a legitimate diagnosis

World Health Organization Burnout is a legitimate diagnosis
Photo: RazvanPhotography, BS

The World Health Organization (WHO) includes Burnout in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This is important news for those in the workforce.

The ICD-11 is a handbook from WHO that serves as a medical practitioner’s guide for diagnosing diseases.

In a statement posted on Twitter last Tuesday, the World health organization clarified that burnout is an “occupational phenomenon”. Although it is not classified as a medical condition, it is now an official diagnosis recognized in the medical community.

Burnout is described as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” in ICD-11’s section on issues in relation to employment or unemployment.

Someone suffering from burnout can be diagnosed by a doctor if they have the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feeling of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • Reduce professional efficacy

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is highly suggested to consult with your doctor who will have to rule out other disorders related to adjustment, anxiety, and mood. The diagnosis is specific to occupation and does not cover other experience or situations in life.

Burnout is most often associated with millennial being dubbed as the “burnout generation” according to an article published on Buzzfeed. Although critics strongly argue that burnout is merely an excuse to justify laziness, researches about the syndrome have been going on for decades.

According to a 2017 review of the literature published in SAGE Open, one of the formal studies of the occupational phenomenon dates back to 1974. This was when Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger published a scientific article on the state of burnout.  

What do you think about it?