Workplace burnout has been officially classified as a disease this week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
The condition was added to the WHO’s catalog, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), one year after it was recommended by health experts.
“Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress – a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
In 2022, workplace burnout will be recognized as a disease worldwide. Insurance providers will then formally acknowledge the condition, and healthcare providers will be able to diagnose and treat the symptoms.
According to the WHO, the three primary symptoms associated with burnout are feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, reduced professional efficacy, and feelings of negativity or cynicism toward the job. It is noted in the ICD that “burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”
Signs of burnout may also include insomnia, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and getting sick more often. According to ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, burnout can cause physical issues that range from respiratory to gastrointestinal problems.
The Mayo Clinic reports that work burnout can be caused by many different factors including work-life imbalance, lack of social support, or unclear job expectations.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
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