Burnout syndrome is a serious condition that can affect anyone, not just people in healthcare. It occurs when you experience chronic stress from work or other obligations, which causes you to feel extremely exhausted, and possibly even despairing. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is now recognized as an occupational-specific syndrome in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) due to the detrimental effects it has on workers’ personal and professional lives, as well as the economies and public health of the countries. In this article, we will talk about what causes burnout, what it feels like, and how to prevent it.

Main causes of burnout syndrome

In general, burnout syndrome is an individual reaction to persistent work stress that affects a person´s health and can evolve to become chronic. From a psychological point of view, this syndrome impairs cognition, emotion, and attitude, which translates into negative behavior towards peers, and the professional role itself. The main causes of burnout typically include:

Excessive workload: A heavy workload, inflexible schedules, and a constant pressure to perform to high standards can all contribute to burnout.

Perceived lack of control: Burnout can be exacerbated by feeling as though one has little control over one’s work, schedule, or decision-making. Micromanagement and inflexible work conditions may make this worse.

Work-life imbalance: Burnout can result when work obligations frequently interfere with personal time and hobbies. This disparity erodes people’s overall wellbeing.

Frequent disputes with coworkers or superiors as well as unclear communication can produce a stressful work environment.

Perceived lack of fairness: A perceived lack of fairness in the workplace is a crucial factor causing burnout. This includes cases of discrimination, favoritism, unfair treatment by coworkers or superiors, and differences in pay or corporate rules.

Main symptoms of burnout syndrome

Burnout syndrome can manifest through a range of symptoms, impacting various aspects of an individual’s well-being. Understanding these signs is crucial for recognizing and addressing burnout effectively. The three main symptoms one can experience include:

Emotional exhaustion: This symptom is characterized by a sensation of being exhausted brought on by the mental efforts undertaken at work. It can also manifest as fatigue, weariness, and weakness.

Cynicism or depersonalization: This symptom is defined as indifference and unconcern towards the work or people involved in it. It translates into social avoidance, and irritability.

Reduced personal achievement: This symptom is characterized by a negative self-evaluation and uncertainty about one’s capacity to perform the work well.

How to prevent burnout syndrome

In today’s world, avoiding burnout is essential to preserve your wellbeing. By prioritizing self-care, individuals can safeguard their mental and physical health. Below, you will find attainable actions and methods to prevent burnout so you can succeed in both your personal and professional lives:

Establish clear boundaries between work and personal time and give self-care activities top priority.

Manage workload: Delegate tasks and prioritize responsibilities, setting attainable goals each day.

Regular breaks: Take breaks throughout the day so you won’t overwhelm yourself.

Seek support: If you´ve tried everything you could, and you’re still experiencing burnout, make sure you seek professional help. Talking to someone that understands the intricacies of human behaviour might be what you need to overcome this issue.


In conclusion, burnout syndrome is a serious condition that can strike anyone, not just those in specific professions. It arises from prolonged and overwhelming stress, leading to physical, emotional, and performance-related challenges. Burnout can be prevented and dealt with by being aware of the signs and taking proactive measures to mitigate the effects of this syndrome.

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