*This article may have affiliate links, which means we may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links we provide (at no extra cost to you). For more details, please read our privacy policy/affiliate disclosure. Thank you for supporting the work we put into this blog!

Burnout is a psy­cho­log­i­cal term that refers to long-term exhaus­tion and dimin­ished inter­est in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chron­ic occu­pa­tion­al stress (e.g., work over­load). How­ev­er, there is grow­ing evi­dence that its eti­ol­o­gy is mul­ti­fac­to­r­i­al in nature, with dis­po­si­tion­al fac­tors play­ing an impor­tant role. Although it is wide­spread, burnout is not rec­og­nized as a dis­tinct dis­or­der, in the DSM‑5, due to the fact that burnout is prob­lem­at­i­cal­ly close to depres­sive dis­or­ders but it is includ­ed in the ICD-10, and can be found under Prob­lems relat­ed to life-man­age­ment dif­fi­cul­ty (Z73). The symp­toms of burnout are sim­i­lar to those of clin­i­cal depres­sion; in a study that direct­ly com­pared depres­sive symp­toms in burned out work­ers and clin­i­cal­ly depressed patients, no diag­nos­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences were found between the two groups: burned out work­ers report­ed as many depres­sive symp­toms as clin­i­cal­ly depressed patients. More­over, a study by Bianchi, Schon­feld, and Lau­rent (2014) showed that about 90% of burned out work­ers meet diag­nos­tic cri­te­ria for depres­sion, sug­gest­ing that burnout may be a depres­sive syn­drome rather than a dis­tinct enti­ty. The view that burnout is a form of depres­sion has found sup­port in sev­er­al recent studies.