It develops over a long period of time and ultimately leads to a loss of quality of life and, in most cases, to secondary diseases such as anxiety disorders and depression. The boundaries between these diseases are fluid.
Burnout can have a variety of psychological and physical (bodily) causes:

Psychological symptoms and ailments of the burnout syndrome

  • Emotional exhaustion accompanied by a feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Psychosomatic illnesses
  • Depression
  • Cynicism and aggressiveness
  • Distancing and loneliness
  • Accusations of guilt
  • Increased risk of addiction - alcohol, tobacco consumption, drugs
  • Lack of drive and concentration
  • Lack of motivation, accompanied by difficulties in facing the challenges of everyday life
  • Indifference and disinterest
  • Existential despair

Physiological symptoms and ailments of the burnout syndrome

  • Sleeping disorders
  • Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
  • Lack of energy
  • Night sweat
  • Headaches
  • Stomach cramps
  • Increased proneness to catching infectious diseases

Burnout syndrome usually affects people with a high level of self-motivation, high demands and expectations, combined with idealistic ideas about themselves and their work. If goals and hopes are not fulfilled in reality, resignation and frustration can be the result. Likewise, lack of recognition and problems in the private environment can favour the development of a burnout syndrome.

Common causes of burnout syndrome

  • Excessive ambition, perfectionism
  • Stress, high workload and conflicts with superiors and colleagues
  • Lack of balance ("work-life-balance")
  • Contradictions between own demands and real circumstances
  • Disturbances in the day-night rhythm, e.g. due to shift work, resulting in insufficient sleep
  • Private conflicts
  • Problems with perception and enforcement of own stress limits, often psychodynamic backgrounds

The aim of treatment must be to regulate the physical and mental overload.
Even if burnout is not an independent illness in the diagnostic catalogue of doctors and psychotherapists - it is not a trendy diagnosis! In view of the fact that burnout is considered the "little sister of depression", every burnout patient must be taken seriously and be treated. The earlier the problem is recognised and treated, the more favourable the course and prognosis.


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