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In nowadays society the diagnose burnout-syndrome is no longer uncommon – independent of age, gender, profession and position.  A lot of people are not able to cope with the pressure imposed by the working world.

The term „burnout“ describes the state of physical, emotional and mental fatigue that is often caused by stress and work overload.  A state that is accompanied by the incapability to adequately cope with such stress.  Briefly, burnout describes the discrepancy between the requirements imposed by profession and the individual capability to cope with the same.

This unbalance between demands and resources (cf. Arnold Bakker: The Job Demands-Resources model) may be considered to be a reason for burnout.  On the one hand high demands by work under pressure of time, emotionally and physically weary situations and higher expectations, on the other hand a lack of positive experience, i.e. a lack of the feeling of success and recognition that normally stand for encouragement and motivation.

The symptoms of burnout are to be graded into three different categories:  depersonalization, emotional fatigue and the experience of failure resp. reduced productivity (cf. Maslach Burnout Inventory –MBI). It is not uncommon that persons suffering from burnout retire from their social environment, distance themselves, are apathetically and cynical. But burnout may just as well express by stress, a lack of motivation and changes in behavior. People suffering  from burnout often feel to be worthless and hardly see any perspective. But especially in the beginning they mostly try to cover and hide these feelings, to push them aside.

A therapy of the burnout syndrome is of limited feasibility, because it is - according to the worldwide diagnose classification system – considered to be a marginal or additional diagnose. The individual symptoms like depression may however be treated successfully.

As for the burnout therapy, two approaches are possible: on the one hand the therapy by counseling sessions, behavioral training, learning profession related abilities, etc.; on the other hand changes of working procedures, regular evaluation of performance and feedback or the like.

But still it is better to take preventive measures than to treat symptoms later on. In order to prevent burnout, one should regularly ask oneself the following 3 questions: Who am I? What do I want? How may I achieve it?  This is a way to strengthen one’s personality, to develop abilities, to pursuit interests and goals and to simultaneously train the emotional and practical intelligence. In best case scenario introspection and the perception by others assimilate so that stress and work overload may be avoided.

For further information on the burnout-syndrome please refer to the following articles:

Source:, recalled march  2012-06-19


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