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WHO recognizes Burnout as medical condition

Date: 28 May 2019 Tags: Miscellaneous

World Health Organization (WHO) for the first time recognised “occupational burn-out” as a medical condition during its recently concluded World Health Assembly in Geneva. It has put burnout in International Classification of Diseases-11 (ICD-11) list, which is used globally as benchmark for health diagnosis. The updated ICD-11 list will take effect in January 2022, also

About Occupational Burn-out

  • WHO Definition: It is defined as syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It refers specifically to phenomena in occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.
  • Three dimensions of Burnour: (i) Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion  (ii) Increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and (iii) reduced professional efficacy.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

  • It is the international standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, clinical purposes and health management.
  • Full official name: International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. It is maintained by WHO and revised periodically.
  • Purpose: It serves as foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide. It is designed as health care classification system by providing system of diagnostic codes for classifying diseases, including classifications of wide variety of signs, symptoms, complaints, social circumstances, abnormal findings and external causes of injury or disease.  
  • It provides common language for health professionals to share health information across the globe. It contains more than 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death.


It is updated ICD list that will take effect in January 2022. It also contains several other additions, including classification of “compulsive sexual behaviour” as a mental disorder.  It also recognises video gaming as an addiction, listing it alongside drug abuse and gambling. It also has for first time has added chapter on traditional systems of medicine.

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