Occupational burnout syndrome is a condition that consists of the presence of a prolonged stress response in the body to emotional and interpersonal stressors that occur at work, which includes chronic fatigue, ineffectiveness, and denial of what happened.

Understanding Burnout or Burnout SyndromeBurnout syndrome (burnt, melted) is a type of stress at work.

Burnout syndrome (burnt, melted) is a type of stress at work, a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion that affects self-esteem, and is characterized by a gradual process by which people lose interest in their tasks, sense of responsibility and can even lead to deep depression.

This syndrome was first described in 1969 when verifying some police officers’ strange behavior: law enforcement officers who were showing very specific symptoms.

In 1974, Freudenberger made the syndrome more popular. Later, in 1986, American psychologists C. Maslach and S. Jackson defined it as “a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and less personal achievement that occurs in people who work in contact with customers and users.”

However, when the German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger first recognized the problem of burnout – burnt, melted – in New York in 1974, at a clinic for drug addicts and the homeless, Freudenberger was not thinking of drug addicts. The clinic volunteers were also suffering: their work was intense, and many began to feel demotivated and emotionally exhausted.

Freudenberger defined this alarming new condition as a state of exhaustion caused by prolonged overuse, and he borrowed the term burnout to describe it. Its popularity was increasing, and today burnout is a worldwide phenomenon.

The syndrome would be the extreme response to chronic stress arising in the context of work and would have repercussions of an individual nature. It would also affect organizational and social aspects. Since the 1980s, researchers have continued to take an interest in this phenomenon, but it was not until the late 1990s that there was a certain consensus on its causes and consequences.

I – People Who Are at Risk of Suffering From Burnout Syndrome

A person may be more likely to experience burnout if they respond to more than one of the following characteristics – in the form of signs or symptoms:

* She identifies so strongly with work that she lacks a reasonable work-life balance.

* She tries to be everything for everyone; she takes on tasks and functions that do not correspond to her position.

* She works in jobs related to professional activities that connect the worker and his services directly to clients. This does not mean that the risk cannot appear in other types of work. In general, doctors, nurses, consultants, social workers, teachers, door-to-door salespeople, pollsters, health workers, debt collection, and many other trades and professions are at higher risk of developing the disease.

* She feels that she has little or no control over her job.

* His work is particularly monotonous and has no surprises.

II – Symptoms of Burnout Syndrome

The symptoms of burnout syndrome have been classified into four groups, where they develop gradually.

1) Psychosomatic symptoms: headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, insomnia, among others.

2) Behavioral symptoms: relationship problems, absenteeism, among others.

3) Emotional symptoms: emotional distancing, anxiety, and decreased performance at work.

4) Defensive symptoms: denial of previous symptoms and shift of feelings to other areas.

The main thing is a strong feeling of helplessness because you already feel tired from the moment you get up. There is no end to the job, and while everything is done to keep the commitments, the job is never done. The person who suffers from it becomes anhedonic; that is, what was previously a cause for joy is no longer so. In other words, he loses the ability to enjoy it. Even when she has time, she still feels stressed. Contrary to what happened in the beginning, the work no longer produces an incentive for the person affected by burnout. Seen by other people, she seems to be sensitive, depressed, and dissatisfied.

Main Symptoms

– Emotional exhaustion. Professional exhaustion leads the person to psychological and physiological exhaustion. A loss of energy appears physical and mental fatigue. Emotional exhaustion occurs when the person has to perform daily and permanent work tasks with people they have to attend as work objects.

– Depersonalization. This manifests itself in negative attitudes towards users/customers; there is increased irritability and motivation loss. Due to the hardening of relationships, this can lead to dehumanization in contact.

– Lack of personal development. Decreased personal self-esteem, frustration with expectations, and stress manifestations at physiological, cognitive, and behavioral levels.

– Inability to concentrate on work and relax or disconnect at the end of the workday.

Feeling overwhelmed by others’ emotional demands, not having the strength to continue to forge relationships with them.

– Frequent physical pain, in addition to the development of psychosomatic illnesses, such as visual fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain, dizziness, sleep disturbances, weight loss, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal disorders, skin conditions, or infections, among d ‘other.

III – The Causes of Burnout Syndrome

Burnout syndrome usually has multiple causes and originates mainly in occupations of high contact with people, with excessive working hours. It has been found in extensive research that the syndrome attacks especially when work exceeds eight hours per day, when the work environment has not been changed for long periods of time, and when financial compensation is insufficient. Burnout also occurs due to disagreements with colleagues and superiors when they treat it improperly; it depends on having a very bad working climate in the work areas, where the working conditions are inhuman.

There Are Two Risk Factors for Developing Burnout Syndrome

1) The stress due to the responsibility, which often exceeds the capacity of the individual to solve them, and if we add to this the uncertainty of the future, the economic problems, and the family relations with little tolerance, they are powerful triggers.

2) Sleep deprivation and its effects on work and school performance have been studied and recently regulated; chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to impair concentration and alter decision-making ability, which increases errors with fatal consequences.

The Most Common Causes Are as Follows

* Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your work: like your schedule, assignments, or workload that could lead to burnout.

* Unclear professional expectations. If you are not sure how much authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect, you are unlikely to be comfortable on the job.

* Dysfunctional work dynamics. Maybe you work with a problematic person in the office, feel belittled by co-workers, or your boss isn’t paying enough attention to your work.

* Differences in values. If the values differ from the way your employer does business or handles complaints, the mismatch can have consequences.

* Bad job fit. If your job does not match your interests and abilities, it can become more and more stressful over time.

* The extremes of activity. When a job is always monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to stay focused, which can contribute to higher levels of fatigue and exhaustion at work.

* Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you may feel more stressed.

* Imbalance between work, family, and social life. If your job takes a lot of time and effort, and you don’t have enough time to spend with family and friends, it can burn you out quickly.

Psychological and Health Effects

Ignoring or not treating burnout can have significant consequences, including:

Excessive stress



A negative spillover into personal relationships or family life



Alcohol or substance abuse

Cardiovascular impairment

High cholesterol

Diabetes, especially in women

Cerebral infarction


Vulnerability to diseases



Muscle aches


Gastrointestinal disturbances



Problems with menstrual cycles

To your professional well-being,

Thomson Dablemond,

Personal Development Coach,

Author, Speaker, Mentalotherapist

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.