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Burnout, the consequence of overwork

Burnout, the consequence of overwork


One of the most talked about mental disorders today, and which gained prominence in society even before the problems highlighted during the pandemic, burnout syndrome is a reality these days.

Can be confused with depression, it is a type of disorder directly linked to work and its daily pressure, not choosing age, gender or even profession.

In this article, VillaRamadas explains what burnout is, what symptoms you should be aware of and how to know if you are experiencing burnout or depression.

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What is burnout?

If we loosely translate burnout, it means “to burn to the end”. If we transfer this idea to the reality of someone with burnout, what you see is the result of someone who took their work to the extreme and therefore allowed themselves to be affected by it until they were no longer fully functional.

Burnout Pressure
© Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Burnout, or burnout syndrome, is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion. It is mostly associated with excessive stress at work over a long period of time.

This syndrome can result from several factors. Of the most common are:

  • work overload;
  • contradictory requirements;
  • poor time management;
  • lack of team support;
  • harassment or verbal abuse in the workplace;
  • toxic environment;
  • lack of recognition of the work developed;
  • bad conditions in the workspace.

It is, in essence, the body’s response to prolonged or chronic stress.

Burnout or depression?

Since burnout creates mental exhaustion,its diagnosis can often be mistaken for an onset of depression. Therefore, in any case, the evaluation must be carried out with a team specialized in evaluating these clinical conditions.

work stress
© Pexels

The importance of this distinction involves not only the correct diagnosis but also the correct treatment. However, we leave the caveat that the diagnosis of burnout does not exempt the development of depression. It depends on each case.

But, to clarify a little better, we can say that the first step in distinguishing burnout from depression is to change the routine. If the person who feels burnt out is removed from the situation that gives him more anxiety and stress, and his condition improves, it can be a sign of burnout. Depression, on the other hand, is a psychological condition that extends over time, and does not improve just by changing the source of stress, requiring treatment.

It is important to try to eliminate the source of stress and see if you feel better. For example, if you feel stressed during the week, but then at the weekend you feel relaxed, you are likely to be burnt out.

How to recognize the symptoms of burnout

Like many other mental disorders, burnout can also include behavioral symptoms, changes in attitude and body actions.

Lack Work Interest
The sudden lack of interest in work is related to a change in attitude that may indicate the beginning of the burnout syndrome © Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Burnout syndrome can be evidenced through:

  • Changes in Attitude: less enthusiasm for activities that you liked until now, lack of professional commitment and effectiveness due to lack of motivation and lack of accomplishment, etc.;
  • Behavior Changes: isolation, increased aggression, increased consumption or abuse of substances harmful to health, etc.;
  • Physical Factors: feeling short of breath, fast heart rate, hypertension, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems, migraines, insomnia, change in appetite, etc.;
  • Emotional Factors: sadness, apathy, anger, loss of emotional control, anxiety, etc.;
  • Cognitive Factors: difficulties with concentration and memory, etc.

How to treat burnout

Before talking about treatment, it is important to emphasize that although burnout is a psychological syndrome, it could be prevented in most cases. As a clinical condition derived from working conditions, this is really the first steptowards decreasing the probability of diagnosis: improving conditions and quality of life at work.

Holidays have a reason for being in a work context. If they weren't important, they wouldn't be mandatory. It is important for the body and mind to switch off in addition to non-work hours so that there is mental rest. Vacation is your right as a worker and you should use it for your own sanity © Wendy Hero/Pexels

However, when a person has already reached a state of burnout, there are treatments that can help return to normality. The first action may be to temporarily withdraw from the environment/situation that causes excessive stress and mental exhaustion. After that, effective treatment may involve a reorganization at work or, in extreme cases, a permanent withdrawal, for the well-being of the person.

At the same time, it is important to emphasize the practice of relaxing activities, such as yoga or meditation, as well as regular physical exercise.

At VillaRamadas we have a specialized professional team to help you. Don’t wait for the situation to get worse. If you feel signs that you may be developing burnout syndrome,talk to us. Do not delay a possible diagnosis. If you know someone who might need help, encourage them to speak up. Burnout may just be the beginning of a more serious depression.


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