(Scientific American Mind) Burnout Gains More Recognition among Psychologists
Although burnout and depression have similar symptoms, the two conditions affect the body in different way
Most of us have seen it happen: a friend or colleague with enviable energy and dedication to a stressful job suddenly burns out. In place of tireless toil comes unrelenting exhaustion, difficulty falling asleep, low mood and a sense of inefficacy. These symptoms may look a lot like depression, but new research suggests that burnout is subtly different in the body and brain.
Although burnout is not recognized as a distinct psychiatric disorder, it seems to cause a unique profile of changes to neurological functioning, according to work by psychologist Agneta Sandström of Umeå University in Sweden. Sandström compared women with burnout, known formally as exhaustion syndrome, to women with major depression, and she found subtle but significant differences between the two groups. For instance, both groups of women had sleep difficulties, but women with depression reported waking too early, whereas women with chronic burnout had difficulties falling asleep.
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ScienceDaily (June 24, 2011) Work Got You Down? Researchers Identify Risk Factors Associated With Development of Different Burnout Types
Being over-burdened with work, monotony and the perception of lack of recognition can all be catalysts for burnout syndrome. A team of scientists has analysed the factors that influence the development of the three sub-types of this condition — ‘frenetic’, ‘under-challenged’ and ‘worn out’.
Chronic workplace stress and the perception of lack of recognition at work create a breeding ground for burnout syndrome. “This condition is increasing in prevalence in Spain and poses a serious problem to society because of the economic losses it causes and its consequences for health,” Jesús Montero-Marín, lead author of the study and a senior researcher at the Aragon Institute of Health Sciences, said.
The experts distinguish three profiles depending on the features of the syndrome displayed — ‘frenetic’, ‘under-challenged’ and ‘worn out’.
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