Burnout syndrome: disease or symptom


Burnout syndrome is both a street and psychological term bandied about a lot lately to describe people dissatisfied with their work and life. Especially in a bad economy where people are not as able to move from one job to another, the topic of burnout comes up a lot.

In clinical terms, burnout is the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest. Most of the significant work done regarding burnout syndrome was conducted by Christina Maslach in the 1970s and the measurement of it is referred to as the Maslach Burnout Inventory. She and her colleagues came up with a three dimensional description of exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy.

Still, Burnout Syndrome is not recognized by the DSM in the United States as an official , diagnosable mental illness. It is recognized by the ICD-10 in Europe. Burnout syndrome is also used quite liberally in Europe as the basis for unfitness to work. It has become an important factor in health economic terms. And no one is really sure it exists.

The current issue of Deutsches Arzteblatt International, psychiatrist Wolfgang P. Kaschka and his co-authors are clear that there is no agreed upon definition of the disease. Further, there is no valid instrument to diagnose burnout syndrome, assuming it exists. Kaschka and his colleagues suggest that burnout syndrome may in fact be a precursor to other conditions or a symptom of a greater mental health concern.

At a time when disability payments are becoming more and more burdensome to pay especially in Europe, these doctors are wondering if this syndrome is worthy of that kind of consideration or is it something else.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Deutsches Arzteblatt International

Burnout is indeed a very real

Burnout is indeed a very real thing regardless of what anyone tries to say. Call it "compassion fatigue" and that makes even more sense to me. I just wish there was a magic wand which could be waved to get rid of it once and for all.


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