Image: Harvard Health

Burnout! We all know what it is and how it feels like to face that situation. A feeling of extreme stress, it is so common that everyone in any career is susceptible to burnout.
The World Health Organisation, for the first time, has recognised burnout in the International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD-11, the WHO’s handbook that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. The WHO decision could help put to rest decades of debate among experts over how to define burnout, and whether it should be considered a medical condition.
In its latest catalogue of diseases and injuries around the world, WHO defines burn-out as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
According to the new update, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet these three symptoms:
1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
2. increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
3. reduced professional efficacy
The updated ICD-11 list was drafted last year following the recommendations of from health experts around the world. It is to take effect from January 2022.
According to the classification, burnout refers specifically to the phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.
Burnout has long been a blurry cultural concept that has defied attempts to create a specific consensus definition scientists can all agree on. “This is the first time” burnout has been included in the classification, said WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.
The classification also contains several other additions, including classification of “compulsive sexual behaviour” as a mental disorder, although it stops short of lumping the condition together with addictive behaviours. Also, for the first time, it recognises video gaming as an addiction, listing it alongside gambling and drugs like cocaine.

Source: Times of India, CNN

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