Burn-out included in International Classification of Diseases


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Burn-out has been included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an “occupational phenomenon”. 

While not classified as a medical condition, it is defined as a “syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” which is characterised by three dimensions, namely: 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. While burn-out was also included in ICD-10, this latest definition is more detailed.

The move has been welcomed by the World Medical Association which said the WHO’s new classification will highlight how burn-out affects physicians around the world.

“For too long, burn-out among physicians has been largely ignored. Emotionally exhausted physicians are a danger to patients and a danger to themselves. The cost in terms of human lives and money is appalling. 

“The number of suicides among doctors resulting from burn-out is a scandal and I hope that the WHO’s new classification will shine a spotlight on this disgraceful situation,” said WMA President Dr Leonid Eidelman. 

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