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What is burnout?

Today, burnout is not considered a disease but an occupational phenomenon.


The World Health Organization defines burnout in ICD-11 as a syndrome resulting from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed.


Burnout is often defined as a long-term work-related stress reaction that usually causes both physical and psychological problems. Often it is the result of a process that has been going on for several yearsand which usually begins with fatigue, tension and muscle pain.


Signs of burnout

Typical symptoms are a feeling of being emotionally and mentally exhausted, overloaded, drained of energy, tired and depressed. Burnout also leads to reduced performance, and this can affect everyday activities at home.


When describing burnout, there are three terms that are central;

  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Emotional distancing
  • Reduced personal performance

Other typical characteristics may be;

  • Headache, tense muscles, chest pressure, palpitations, nausea or dizziness
  • Changed sleep pattern - you sleep more or less than before
  • Changed appetite
  • Stomach/intestinal problems
  • You get sick easily
  • Alienation of job activities
  • Fatigue and weariness at work and when the working day is over
  • Loss of job satisfaction. Negative or frustrated in relation to the work you do, the workplace and colleagues
  • Physical fatigue. Don't feel like doing much in your spare time.



Burnout can affect people in all occupational groups


Difference between stressed and burnt out

Burnout is not the same as stress. Depending on your type of personality, you can reactare positive about stress. In fact, some people find that a little stress helps them feel more productive and motivated.  

Too much stress and pressure on the other hand can lead to burnout. In those cases, you will feel, as the expression suggests, burnt out. So while stress in small amounts can be positive, burnout is considered negative. 

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