Burnout Is Now an Official Medical Diagnosis. Here's What That Means
Plus, we give you resources to help you manage stress.
Burnout-the feeling of physical or mental collapse after overworking-is now an official medical diagnosis, according to the World Health Organization, which has added "burnout" to the list of illnesses it identifies in its International Classification of Diseases.
The International Classification of Diseases (or ICD-11) is "the global health information standard for mortality and morbidity statistics," according to the WHO website, and it's used throughout the world-in more than 100 countries-to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases. It's a trusted resource-and therefore, the addition of burnout as a listed disease is a big deal.
According to the ICD-11, burnout is a result of "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed," and it can be characterized by "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."
Related: 7 Foods That Secretly Stress You Out
And while we colloquially may refer to burnout in other areas of our lives-if, for example, we feel over-extended at home with family or friends-the ICD-11 does not yet recognize burnout outside the office. "Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life," it writes.
But before you use burnout as an excuse to take a sick day, note the ICD-11 has caveats to a diagnosis: Doctors should first rule out other mood and anxiety disorders, it says.
It may come as no surprise that burnout has finally been classified as a medical diagnosis-especially to Americans. In a recent Gallup survey, 55 percent of U.S. respondents said they had felt stress the day before the survey-more than the global average of 35 percent. And unfortunately, that stress could be causing serious problems: It can make you gain weight, increase inflammation, increase your risk of heart disease, and much more, studies show.
If you're feeling work-related burnout, you can now seek an official medical diagnosis and treatment. But if you'd like to try to manage your stress at home, too, here are seven foods that can help reduce stress, and seven foods you can stress-eat-without feeling guilty. And here are three ways you can reduce your stress. One way is to eat some chocolate-yum!