KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Burnout has been listed in the World Health Organisation’s latest version of International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a handbook used globally as a benchmark for health diagnosis, dubbed as ICD-11. It can be found under the category of problems associated with employment or unemployment.
Contrary to earlier reports, although it is included in the updated ICD list, the WHO clarified on its website under its evidence and research section that burnout is an “occupational phenomenon” and not classified as a medical condition.
“It is described in the chapter: ‘Factors influencing health status or contact with health services’ — which includes reasons for which people contact health services but that are not classed as illnesses or health conditions,” the international body stressed.
The WHO said burnout was already included in the past version of the ICD, the ICD-10, in the same category but the definition of it is now “more detailed.”
In the ICD-11, the WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Here is how the ICD-11 lists for “QD85 Burn-out”:
Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: 1) 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. Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.
“Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”
WHO added that it is about to “embark on the development of evidence-based guidelines on mental well-being in the workplace.”
The ICD-11 was drafted last year, following recommendations from health experts in different countries. It was only approved last Saturday and will take effect in January 2022.