World Health Organisation adds Workplace 'Burn-Out' To Disease List

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has added ‘burn-out’ to its official International Classification of Diseases (ICD)- ending decades of heated debate as to whether or not it was a legitimate medical condition.

The addition of burn-out to the list comes as the World Health Assembly wraps up in Geneva today. The assembly agreed to add burn-out to the ICD, which is widely used for diagnosis by professionals and health insurers alike.

World Health Organisation spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters at the assembly that “this is the first time [that] burn-out has been included in the classification.”

The WHO defines this burn-out condition as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

It goes on to explain that there are three layers to the symptoms of workplace burn-out. The first includes, “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.”

Interestingly enough, the WHO outlines that this applies only to the workplace context. “Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context,” it said, and should not be applied to experiences in other areas of life.”

The IDC is now in its 11th version, and will take effect in January 2022. In addition to workplace burn-out, the WHO added several new conditions like video gambling, as well as removing transgenderism from its list of medical conditions.

Research published by the American Medical Association, Mayo Clinic, Stanford University and University of Singapore has put the bill for workplace burn-out anywhere between $2.6-6.3 billion- purely in the context of US health professionals.

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