WHO concluded that Burnout is not a medical condition

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  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has for the first time recognised “burn out” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), collectively known as the ICD-11.
  • The decision was taken during the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.


  • WHO has now defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life
  • The syndrome was characterised by:
  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • increased the mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
  • reduced professional efficacy.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD):

  • It is the global health information standard for mortality and morbidity statistics. It was created in 1948 and WHO was entrusted with it. ICD is revised periodically and this year is currently its 10th revision.
  • It is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers. The updated ‘CD list, dubbed as ICD-11, was drafted in 2018 following recommendations from health experts from all around the world.
  • It was approved on 25 May 2019 and will take effect in January 2022.
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