Stress and burnout – what is the difference-

Burnout has long since ceased to be a managerial disease, but has arrived in the middle of society. Adults of all ages, as well as children and adolescents, can develop burnout syndrome if they don't get competent help, such as from a burnout counselor. Often, the exhaustion reaction arises in the context of a chronic overload, for example due to persistent stressful situations at work or in private life. But where is the transition? What is "just" stress. What is burnout?

Some characteristics you can use to tell the difference are presented below.

What is stress?

The word "stress" comes from the Latin "strictus". It means something like "tightness" or "bottleneck. In medieval English, "stress" was used to describe an external distress or an imposed hardship. The physician, biochemist and hormone researcher Hans Selye first defined stress in 1936 as a physical state under strain.

Nowadays, the concept of stress is used almost inflationarily in everyday life. You yourself may experience stress as a real buzzword, which is used to describe demanding, burdensome or overstraining and overburdening situations and states of mind.

Lyle E. Bourne and Bruce R. Ekstrand define stress in their book Introduction to Psychology (2008, p. 310) as a "state through which the body mobilizes its resources and uses more energy than usual.". James Lehmann adds in The Threat to the Self as a Cause of Stress – An Experimental Operationalization of the SOS Concept (2012): "Stress arises from the discrepancy between the demands placed on a person and his or her capabilities. Stress is therefore subject to the subjective perception of a person."

What is burnout?

Burnout syndromes were not defined as stress until the mid-19th century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the term was still used to refer to "nervous weakness". But this term increasingly disappeared after World War I due to traumatic experiences. A first description of burnout is found in 1974 in the U.S., where studies were conducted in nursing professions. From 1976 on, more work on burnout as a response to chronic stress at work is added. This trend is continuing: from 1990 onwards, burnout is being applied to more and more occupational groups, including managers and other.

A unified use of terms (burnout vs. burnout syndrome) is missing until today. In addition, large parts of the population still consider burnout to be a "fashionable" diagnosis. This is clearly contradicted by the specialist literature. "Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal performance problems that can occur in individuals who work with people in any capacity. It is a reaction to the emotional chronic strain of being continually involved with people, especially when they are distressed or having problems," writes Christina Maslach in Burnout: A social psychological analysis (1982 in Jones, JW (Ed.): The Burnout Syndrome. Park Ridge, III: London S. 30-53). Robert Kahn adds that burnout is "often associated with unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms" (1978, Job burnout: Prevention and remedies. Public Welfare,3 (2), S. 61-63) stands.

According to the ICD, the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, burnout is not a distinct disease or treatment diagnosis. In the ICD, burnout is defined as "being burned out". Described as a "state of total exhaustion". This makes burnout a framework or. Additional diagnosis.

Characteristics of stress

Stress and burnout differ in some important ways. Typical characteristics of stress are:

– Stress is a temporary condition. – It often results from over-commitment. – Stress evokes a strong emotional reaction in those affected. – In the short term, stress can boost performance. The stressed person becomes downright hyperactive. However, stress can also lead to anxiety. Becoming physically stressful. – The ability to work is maintained under stress.

Characteristics of Burnout

Burnout differs from stress in essential aspects. Typical burnout characteristics are:

– Burnout is a long-term process. – It is often characterized by under-commitment. – Correspondingly, burnout is often characterized by an emotional distance of the person affected. – They experience burnout as reducing their performance and feel helpless. Burnout can lead to depression. Thus has a particularly psychologically stressful effect. – In the long term an inability to work occurs.

How stress turns into burnout?

To summarize: Burnout is caused by a permanent imbalance of demands and personal coping options. Resulting from it chronic stress, which is self-reinforcing. When a demand becomes stress varies greatly from individual to individual.

Triggers for Burnout can be Physical or cognitive or. mental be of a.

Physical triggers

Burnout can occur in conjunction with illnesses that are associated with exhaustion. In that case, the burnout is physically triggered. This can happen, for example, in connection with anemia, iron deficiency, or thyroid dysfunction. In addition, exhaustion can be triggered by diabetes, HIV, tuberculosis, cancer, sleep disorders, or similar conditions.

Cognitive and mental triggers

To understand cognitive and mental triggers for burnout, you can use psychologist Dr Radler's model. Matthias Burisch.

Using a female cyclist as an example, the model depicts nine common, unflattering internal views of a person. The points, taken individually, do not add up to burnout. However, if several points add up, the risk of burnout can increase.

Source: Burisch, M. (2015): Dr. Burisch's burnout cure – for all cases, S.

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