"Burnout" is officially a disease, according to the World Health Organisation.

The agency, currently holding the World Health Assembly in Geneva, added the condition to its catalogue, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), on Monday, a year after it was recommended by global health experts.

It will become globally recognised in 2022, giving healthcare providers and insurers precedent to acknowledge, treat and cover symptoms of burnout.

The WHO describes burnout as "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed," along with three defining symptoms:

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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 listing in the ICD notes that "burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life."

It is distinct, the authors say, from other types of adjustment disorder, disorders specifically associated with stress, anxiety or fear-related disorders, and mood disorders - all of which have their own classifications.

Burnout refers specifically to the occupational context and should not be applied to other areas of life. Photo / Getty Images
Burnout refers specifically to the occupational context and should not be applied to other areas of life. Photo / Getty Images

"This is the first time," burnout has been officially recognized in the ICD, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters, according to the AFP.

Other new conditions added to the list include:

• "compulsive sexual behaviour" as a mental disorder (but not an addiction, as some had suggested);
• video gaming as an addiction
• The new list removes:

• transgenderism as a 'mental disorder'. It is now a 'condition related to sexual health'

Where you can get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.

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If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234
1737 NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737