Stress, Burnout And Depression
It does not matter so much if burnout and depression are different illnesses or simply different terms for the same condition. Causes, symptoms, effects and treatment are virtually identical. Burnout was first described in 1974 by a German-born American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Herbert J. Freudenberger.
Herbert J. Freudenberger has observed a mental and physical fatigue syndrome, which has led to a loss of meaningfulness of one's actions, and it was most common especially in the business world. Occupational psychologists Maslach and Jackson established burnout syndrome as a psychological concept in 1981.
Signs, symptoms and consequences of the burnout syndrome were described as the following: reduced performance, emotional and physical exhaustion, indifferent, negative and cynical attitudes towards work and fellow humans, and the conviction of the affected that they had failed professionally and were overwhelmed.
They also outlined how chronic work stress can affect the psyche and the body:
a) first warning signs are overtime work, exhaustion or vegetative overreaction,
b) reduced engagement, less social interaction, negative attitude to work
c) Emotional reactions such as fear of failure, pessimism, emptiness, hopelessness, lack of energy, feeling helpless, blaming others or the system,
d) decreased cognitive performance, motivation, creativity and differentiation ability,
e) lack of interest in emotional and social life
f) psychosomatic reactions such as pain, sleep disturbances, lack of recovery, altered eating habits, use of substances and
g) feelings of desperation and futility up to an actual depression.
PRESSURE AT WORKPLACE
Burnout syndrome is very common in today's busy world. Probably the best study in this regard is from Ahola and colleagues (Ahola et al., 2005), who found in 2005 in a large-scale study in Finland a frequency of 25 percent for light to moderate and 2-3 percent for severe forms of burnout among the working population.
The most important factors are: time pressure, unclear instructions, social discrimination and work in leisure time; on the other hand, the behaviour of superiors and management staff has proven to have a great role. This is in line with empirical research by, for example, Siegrist and colleagues in the 1990s, who see the balance between the professional reward in the form of salary, opportunities for advancement, appreciation, etc. and the requirements and obligations as a central element.
It's been discussed today whether burnout and depression are different diseases or simply different terms for the same disease. Ultimately, it does not really matter so much: causes, symptoms, effects and treatment are virtually identical.
Due to the typically common accompanying symptoms of depression, which are similar to burnout, they are often not recognized or are detected pretty late and therefore not treated, or are treated inadequately. This is especially regrettable because depression is one of the most common, serious and dangerous diseases of all. Depression has an extremely high mortality - due to suicide, but also due to the aggravation of physical illnesses, and, according to WHO, depression and depression caused illnesses are among the three most economically significant and most expensive diseases worldwide.
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