Burnout classified as occupational phenomenon

Burnout classified as occupational phenomenon

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) included employee burnout in its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon.

Burnout is described in the chapter, "Factors influencing health status or contact with health services" and includes reasons why people contact health services but are not classed as illnesses or medical conditions.


Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • 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.

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Burnout was also included in the previous ICD-10, in the same category as in ICD-11, but now the definition is more detailed.


What you should know about burnout is that it doesn’t just happen overnight. It develops slowly over time. The source of burnout is stress, in the case of employee burnout, it is stress at the workplace. 

As Dr. Helena Lass writes in InnoHealth Magazine “Regardless of the polarity of stress (positive or negative), biochemically your body reacts in the same way. Whenever our subconscious autopilot system detects a stressor, adrenaline and cortisol are released from our adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys. Our blood pressure rises, our muscles tense, heart rate elevates, and digestion is inhibited, all preparing us to either fight or take flight. We all have experienced this feeling, like a sudden rush. However, being constantly exposed to prolonged episodes of stress impacts the health of our body and reinforces unhealthy patterns mentally as well as emotionally. It can weaken the immune system, cause more regular mood swings, and can manifest as if being ‘on the ashes’, ultimately resulting in burnout.”


Dr. Lass presents the solution in this short video.



Do not stop here:

  1. Take a free Stress Test and experience Dr. Lass explaining the stress and burnout topic (25 to 30-minute experience);
  2. Find out about highly valued e-training that helps to manage stress and prevent burnout (high quality 6 to 8-hour mental health training that changes mindsets and habits).


Do not allow your staff members to suffer, start relieving stress at work before it turns into burnout NOW.

This blog post is written by Kaur Lass