Burnout is Now Recognized as a Legitimate Diagnosis

Burnout is a term that is often used to describe exhaustion that impacts an individual’s productivity, interest, and motivation at work. Many individuals believe that ongoing occupational stress and lack of occupational control can trigger initial symptoms of a burnout. Research studying this phenomenon dates back to the 1970s and many companies began stressing the importance of self-care and implementing relaxation activities within the workplace to maintain employee moral and satisfaction. Although the symptoms of burnout have been discussed as a significant mental health concerns for years, it was never classified as a legitimate diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder- Fifth Edition (DSM-5) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10). However, the 11th edition of the ICD has introduced burnout as an occupational phenomenon and burnout now appears as a diagnosis under the section that describes problems related to employment and unemployment. The ICD-11 explains that symptoms should be due to work-related situations, stating symptoms cannot be due to situations outside of the individual’s occupational situation. As a result of this classification, health-care providers are now able to bill medical insurance companies for the treatment of burnouts if an individual meets criteria for the diagnosis. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes burnout “as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The symptoms are listed as: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” It is important to note that medical providers must distinguish whether or not symptoms are due to another disorder, such as a mood or adjustment disorder before diagnosing burnout.

Many individuals proactively implement self-care strategies to prevent burning out due to long work hours, work stress, lack of support, and/or lack of occupational control. However, many individuals continue to experience some depressive symptoms, lethargy, and decreased energy despite implementing self-care strategies. Research indicates that many individuals face difficulty saying no when demands become overwhelming within the workplace and they often find themselves taking on additional tasks and responsibility despite experiencing emotional and physiological reactions. Psychotherapy services has been shown to help individuals experiencing burnout cope with their symptoms. Psychotherapy services can also help prevent an escalation of symptoms when initial burnout red flags are present. Qualified psychologists at the Miami Psychology Group are currently accepting patients in the Miami and Miami Beach areas. Please contact us if you have any question or are interesting in scheduling an appointment with one of our licensed psychologists.