employee suffering from occupational burnout

Occupational Burnout: WHO’s Diagnosis for Work-related Stress

By Nicole Arzt is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in providing psychotherapy for individuals, families, and groups struggling with substance use disorders and psychiatric illnesses.

Sober Recovery Expert Author

employee suffering from occupational burnout

Are you feeling exhausted at work? Do you find yourself waking up each morning dreading the tasks ahead of you? If so, you're not alone.

A staggering 61 percent of employees report experiencing stress at work. Likewise, job-related pressure ranks at the top of the list for causes of stress in the US.

A staggering 61% of employees report experiencing stress at work. As such, job-related pressure ranks at the top of the list for causes of stress in the US.

Occupational burnout is a real phenomenon, and it's one that can seriously impact your physical and psychological functioning.

What Is Occupational Burnout?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon.

WHO classifies workplace burnout as a syndrome that results in chronic, unaddressed workplace stress. The symptoms of occupational burnout include:

  • feeling emotionally exhausted or depleted
  • detachment from one's job
  • feeling negative or cynical towards one's job
  • increased feelings of irritability and frustration
  • reduced professional efficacy

Risk Factors

Burnout can be attributed to several different factors. All employees in all industries are prone to experiencing this phenomenon. However, there are a few risk factors that may increase the risk.

Work Overload

An excessive and unrealistic workload can definitely result in burnout. Everyone has a threshold for maximum performance. When that threshold is tested, it's normal to become exhausted, resentful, and jaded.

Management Problems

Don't get along with your boss? An unhealthy dynamic doesn't just create stress and frustration. It can be a direct cause of occupational burnout.

Feeling unsupported by management can lead to unresolved anger and cracks within the team environment.

Lack of Acknowledgment And Reward

While good salaries motivate people, money isn't the only factor when it comes to workplace satisfaction. A lack of compensation or even acknowledgment can make even the most dedicated employee feel dejected.

Over time, this can lead to discontent and detachment. Conversely, the more employees feel appreciated for what they do, the more satisfied they’re likely to feel in the workplace.

Contradicting Values

If you work for an organization that contradicts your core values, it can lead to pessimism, resentment, and disengagement. It doesn't matter if it's a small value or a very important value.

While you don't need to agree with everything your company stands for, clashing values can make you feel powerless and hopelessboth of which can lead to burnout.

Working In A High-Risk Job

When you feel like your career is on the line every day, it's easy to become susceptible to burnout. Chronically working in a high-risk position can trigger mental exhaustion, as it may feel like every choice you make is a life-or-death decision.

Dealing With Work Stress

Over time, occupational burnout can lead to serious physical and psychological issues. These issues are increasingly problematic for recovering addicts in the workplace, as they may encounter relapse triggers. However, burnout is treatable. If you recognize yourself as having any of these symptoms, you may be struggling with this condition.

The first step is recognizing the importance of self-care. It is essential that you practice mindfulness and body-oriented wellness regularly. Implementing self-care helps you stay grounded, and it can help you feel restored and rejuvenated for tackling work.

You may also want to consider entering therapy. A therapist can help you determine the underlying issues related to your burnout. Furthermore, he or she may be able to help you distinguish if it's time to start looking for a new job.

If you or someone you know is struggling with work-related stress, please visit our directory of mental health resources or call 800-891-8171 to start the path to recovery today.

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