Unable to work because of burnout syndrome

December 01, 2011

In the media, burnout is a topic covered with repetitive regularity. In spite of this, no agreed definition exists, and neither does a valid instrument to diagnose burnout syndrome. Psychiatrist Wolfgang P Kaschka and coauthors are very clear about that fact in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108[46]: 781-7).

The diagnosis "burnout syndrome" is the basis for many doctors' certificates attesting unfitness to work and is therefore an important factor in health economic terms. The study shows that a vast deficit exists with regard to research into the condition. In spite of the absence of instruments, the diagnosis of burnout is often made in clinical practice, and it is also being used to base further treatment on.

The symptoms of those affected usually include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced productive capacity. In the authors' view, burnout should be regarded as a precursor of or risk factor for depressive disorders.

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
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