Stress in the workplace

Burnout syndrome has become the central buzzword in the mental health debate. The inflationary use led to the fact that in the public debate everything could be and was called burnout – from temporary stress-induced exhaustion to severe depression, without a uniform determination of the cause.

What does the WHO decision mean? The World Health Organization (WHO) has now responded to this. The additional code "Burn-out" (Z73) specified. The revised version of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) will specify burnout syndrome as a "consequence of chronic stress at work that leads, among other things, to a negative attitude toward the job and lower performance capacity" starting in 2022. Additional codes are used to specify diagnoses and are intended to capture, among other things, "potential health risks due to socioeconomic or psychosocial circumstances" that have no disease value of their own.

Is burnout now a recognized disease?

No. A misleading wording at the WHO press conference led many leading media in Germany to spread this message. The World Health Organization corrected this message and clarified: The health consequences of burnout have an influence on the state of health, but are not an independent disease.

These are the WHO's three burnout symptoms:

1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion 2. Increased mental detachment from one's job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job 3. reduced professional effectiveness

What's new now?

Burn-out can still be used as an additional code. What is new is the concrete reference to the world of work in order to stop the inflationary use of the term. The aim is that exhaustion symptoms that are not an exclusive, chronic consequence of work-related mental stress should no longer be referred to as burn-out syndrome in the future, but should be coded with other additional codes.

What are additional codes for?

The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is the official classification used to code diagnoses in outpatient and inpatient care in Germany. It serves medical professionals and health insurers as a guide and currently lists a total of 55.000 Diseases, symptoms and causes of injury. It also serves as a basis for remuneration and financing systems, quality reports and statistics.

The codes consist of a letter and a number. Depression, for example, has the code F32.0 ff and is a mental disorder that indicates treatment at the expense of health insurers. Burn-out syndrome, on the other hand, is found as a syndrome under the code Z73. Z codes do not describe diseases, but circumstances or situations that influence health status. Thus, a Z code is not sufficient to apply for psychotherapy or to certify an inability to work. The Z categories play a rather minor role in daily medical practice.

What difference does it make for the affected?

Initially, it makes no difference to the individual's condition what the cause of the symptoms is. The need for recuperation remains – regardless of whether it is private or work-related. Nevertheless, the decision also has an impact for those affected: The more precisely the causes of the individual symptoms are examined, the better they can be reduced by treatment and prevention.

How psyGA supports?

In order to support companies in designing work in such a way that mental health is promoted and work-related hazards are prevented, psyGA supports company and inter-company decision-makers with practical tools, compact guides and holistic concepts in the implementation of prevention activities. The free offers include e-learning tools, seminar concepts, guides and work aids. Since the project launch of psyGA in 2009, some 700.000 booklets. Aids for action in company use.000 Brochures and action aids in operational use.

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