Burnout Syndrome: An occupational phenomenon caused by excessive and prolonged stress

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Burnout Syndrome: An occupational phenomenon caused by excessive and prolonged stress

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Workplace burnout, a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress has recently become such a serious occupational health issue. Instead of being a medical condition, it is been currently reclassified by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be an occupational phenomenon. Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Burn-out specifically refers to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life. Since chronic stress in workplace largely disrupts quality of life, medical attention must be provided appropriately. Being aware of warning signs remain crucial, allowing treatment to be promptly given.

 

Get to know “burnout syndrome”

Workplace burnout is described as a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. As the stress continues, work interest or motivation is depleted. Workplace burnout has become such a serious occupational issue in the modern age. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  2. Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to the job and reduced self-confidence.
  3. Reduced professional efficacy and increased mental distance from colleagues and clients. 

 

Warning signs of burnout syndrome

Signs that indicate burnout state are classified into 3 categories:

1) Emotional disturbance

  • Being down-hearted
  • Feeling depressed 
  • Getting angry or being in a bad tempered easily
  • Mood instability
  • Feeling unsatisfied with assigned job

 

2) Thinking attitude

  • Being pessimistic 
  • Blaming the others
  • Feeling doubtful or suspicious 
  • Being irresponsive and unreliable
  • Lack of self-confidence

 

3) Behavioral changes 

  • Being a procrastinator 
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Being impulsive
  • Inability to manage time
  • Lack of motivation to wake up and go to work
  • Being late to work continuously 
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Feeling unhappy during working

 

Management of burnout syndrome

To manage workplace excessive or chronic stress before getting too late, recommendations include:

  • Increase the degree of flexibility in working circumstances
  • Understand and accept the differences among people
  • Avoid early judgment without clear evidences
  • Being open minded and listen to the others  
  • Talk to someone who can listen and give suggestions
  • Being engaged with company/organization
  • Avoid excessive workload
  • Avoid working at home
  • Leave the problems at workplace and never take them home
  • Reduce pressure at work as much as possible
  • Gently ask for additional assistance if needed or politely refuse some requests 
  • Take sufficient rest
  • In case that certain signs exhibit, medical consultation with specialists is highly advised.

 

Burnout Syndrome

 

Impacts of burnout syndrome

The negative effects of burnout syndrome spill over into every area of life, including:

1) Physical impacts

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headache
  • Body aches 

 

2) Mental impacts

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Sleep disturbance

 

3) Work performance

  • Frequent absence from work
  • Being late to work
  • Decreased work performance
  • Intention to resign

 

Certain works that potentially lead to burnout syndrome

  • Excessive and overload work
  • Complicated work or work with restricted time frame
  • Work with unfair compensation
  • Work that is not valued or work that does not generate pride 
  • Work with a lack of justice, honesty, trust or acceptance
  • Work without real authority 
  • Work under unorganized systems/structure or work without determined goals and directions

 

Burnout syndrome is often mistaken for depression. In fact, burnout is a group of several symptoms described as a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion which is different from depression which is medical illness. If any abnormal signs and symptoms present, medical counseling with psychiatrists and mental specialists is highly recommended in order to address the problem correctly with appropriate and timely treatment plans.

 

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