All you need to know about “Burnout” – The Recently Detected Illness

Burnout is a word people use to express their feeling of being under-appreciated and over-stressed. Recently, burnout was recognised in the 11th edition of the international classification of disease (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. According to the definition given by the World Health Organization, “burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

It is characterized by three dimensions:

1. The feeling of energy depletion or exhaustion

2. Increased mental distance from the job, or negative feelings or cynicism related to the job

3. Reduced professional efficiency

The individuals who struggle to cope with workload and stress are expected to be at a higher risk of burnout. In simple words, if a person appears exhausted, less capable to do work, and disillusioned, then they are showing the signs of burnout.

Risk factor:

Some occupations can have a greater risk level of burnout than others. It is not necessary that all individual in the same profession or job face burnout, it depends on the stress-management skills of an individual. According to 2018 report by Gallup, the burn out is caused due to five major reasons:

1. Unreasonable time pressure

2. Unsupportive manager and colleagues

3. Unfair treatment

4. Overwhelming workload

5. Lack of role clarity

Symptoms:

There is a chance that a person does not understand that he is having a burnout. This is a gradual process and the symptoms might not get recognized until it turns severe. The basic symptoms are classified into two categories – physical and emotional symptoms.

A. Physical symptoms

1. Feeling fatigued and drained constantly

2. Lowered immunity and frequent illness

3. Frequent Muscle pain and headache

4.  Disturbed sleeping habits

5. Changes in appetite

B. Emotional symptoms

1. Feeling of helplessness and being defeated

2. Loneliness and feeling of detachment

3. Lack of motivation

4. Heightened negative outlook

5. Lack of belongingness

Furthermore, the individual suffering from burnout may feel emotionally distant from their work. They start looking at their job as being highly frustrating and stressful. Burnout also affects the work performance of the employees.  The employees start thinking about the job as a burden and they might try to avoid it. This results in absence, lack of creativity, difficulty in concentration and thoughts of quitting the job.

Treatment and prevention:

Burnout is a reversible condition. It can be prevented by developing a clear strategy  which can assist in managing stress. The employee can also follow various self-care strategies such as regular exerting, healthy diet, proper sleeping schedule, mediation, and more. Further, burnout can be treated by developing a healthier workplace environment for the workers. Here approaching the human resource manager can also help, as they can assist you in solving the basic problem relating to the job like time management, break from work, and reducing the workload.

Current scenario:

According to the article released by Forbes, burnout costs around $125 billion to $190 billion each year in healthcare cost. Researchers have also estimated that workplace stress accounts for 8% of national spending on healthcare. Moreover, it is also responsible for up to 50% of employee’s turnover in some organization.

In conclusion, burnout is something which should be taken seriously as it affects both our physical and mental health. It can also turn into some serious problems like depression. By keeping in mind the symptoms and prevention techniques you can save yourself from being Burnout.