'Burn-out' Is Now A Legit Medical Condition
Health experts have recognised 'burn-out' as an official medical diagnosis.
The World Health Assembly, a global forum that's been held by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva over the past week, has just approved the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
After being reviewed by the 194 member states to the Assembly, ICD-11 has become the new international standard diagnostic tool for global health and it includes a new diagnosis of 'burn-out'.
Burnout has been described in the manual as a problem associated with employment or unemployment and results from "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed".
There are three dimensions of the condition recognised by WHO including feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job, and reduced professional efficacy.
The condition only applies within work contexts and WHO state that it should not be applied to describe any other areas of life.
Burnout was first described in the 70s and it is a widely-recognised mental health problem in modern society.
It has been studied among medical staff, teachers, social workers, and people working in the financial sector -- with studies finding up to 68 percent of medical oncologists (cancer physicians) suffering from the condition.
However, until this point, its legitimacy has been widely disputed by the medical literature, with psychologists failing to agree on the defining symptoms.
The term has become increasingly popular amongst millennial workers, with on BuzzFeed News essay by Anne Helen Peterson titled 'How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation' gaining widespread online traction earlier this year.
Peterson described "errand paralaysis" -- an inability to attend to her personal administrative tasks, a lack of leisure time, and the internalised feeling that she should be working all the time.
"The "greatest generation" had the Depression and the GI Bill; boomers had the golden age of capitalism; Gen-X had deregulation and trickle-down economics," Peterson said.
"And millenials? We've got venture capital, but we've also got the 2008 financial crisis, the decline of the middle class and the rise of the one percent, and the steady decay of unions and stable, full-time employment."
The ICD-11 will now take effect in January 2022 and includes several other changes from the previous manual including the deletion of all transgender-related conditions as a mental disorder.
ICD-11 states that gender "variant behaviour and preferences alone are not a basis" for assigning diagnoses related to sexual health.
The manual has also recognised video gaming addiction for the first time, listing it alongside gambling addictions and drugs such as cocaine.