The World Health Organization has declared that “burnout” remains an “occupational phenomenon” that could lead someone to seek care but it is not considered a medical condition.
The clarification came a day after the WHO mistakenly said it had listed burnout in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) for the first time.
The World Health Assembly has approved the latest catalogue of diseases and injuries, collectively known as the ICD-11 in its annual meeting.
While burnout was listed in the previous version, the ICD-10, its definition has been changed in the latest edition of the text.
WHO has now modified the definition of burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
It said that burnout syndrome was characterised by: “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.”
The updated ICD list was drafted last year following recommendations from health experts around the world.
The ICD-11 is to take effect in January 2022