By Anna Bonet – May 28, 2019

Suffering from exhaustion? Burn-out is now an official condition, says the World Health Organisation.

For the first time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognized burn-out as a medical condition. The body has introduced burn-out to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a guide which is used worldwide to help diagnose illness.

The annual World Health Assembly concludes in Geneva today. In its meeting, WHO defined burn-out as ‘a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’ This puts an end to years of debate as to whether burn-out should qualify as a medical condition.

But what exactly is burn-out and how can you prevent it? Dr Vanessa Moulton, chartered psychologist at Mindflex, explains: What is burn-out?

‘Burn-out is a psychological, emotional and physical state that we can find ourselves in when we have been exposed to chronic long term stress,’ explains Dr Moulton. ‘Exposure to ongoing stressors and our interpretations of them can result in sheer exhaustion and an inability to continue as we have been.’

What are the symptoms of burn-out?

According to Dr Moulton, we can recognise burnout in ourselves or others through physical, psychological, emotional and behavioural symptoms. These include:

🔹 Physical: insomnia, fatigue, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, reduced appetite, and weakened immune system.

🔹 Psychological: self criticism, pessimism, feelings of unworthiness, and loss of concentration.

🔹Behavioural: isolation, detachment, obsessive compulsive behaviours and feeling out of control.

🔹 Emotional: low mood, anxiety, and anger.

How can you prevent burn-out?

There are a few ways in which you can help avoid burning out, says Dr Moulton. Try the following:

✔️ Manage unrealistic expectations of yourself.

✔️ Practise self-care and compassion.

✔️ Be assertive with yourself. Learn to attend both to your own needs and the needs of your work.

✔️ Ensure you get downtime and time to disconnect with the pressures of work.

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