Burnout syndrome: What is causing your BOS?

What causes your burnout syndrome? Recognize these to manage your life. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
What causes burnout syndrome? (Image via Freepik/Freepik)

Burnout syndrome (BOS) is brought about by a mismatch between the employee's goals and ideals and fundamental responsibilities of their employment. Individuals experience emotional stress and rising job-related disenchantment in the early stages of burnout syndrome.

Burnout is a kind of work-related stress characterised by physical or emotional fatigue, as well as a sense of diminished accomplishment and impairment of one's own identity.

Burnout syndrome is not a medical term. Some specialists believe that burnout is caused by additional illnesses like depression. Individual characteristics like personality features and family life impact who experiences burnout while working.


What is burnout syndrome?

Burnout is not a new phenomenon. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
Burnout is not a new phenomenon. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

Burnout syndrome, first reported in the 1970s, is a work-related cluster of symptoms that typically arises in persons with no previous record of psychological or psychiatric illnesses. People suffering from BOS lose their ability to adjust to their work environment and develop negative attitudes towards their job, coworkers and patients.

Finally, three basic burnout symptoms emerge: exhaustion (excessive time and effort-related fatigue), depersonalization (a distant or uncaring attitude towards work) and reduced personal accomplishment (a tendency to judge the worth of one's work adversely).

Taking care of mental health is important in personal space and workplace. (Image via Freepik/Freepik)
Taking care of mental health is important in personal space and workplace. (Image via Freepik/Freepik)

Healthcare practitioners on the front lines of care have the highest incidence of BOS, exceeding 40%.

Working in an intensive care unit can be highly stressful due to high mortality and morbidity among patients, difficult daily job routines and frequent interactions with traumatic and ethical concerns. Unfortunately, critical care healthcare practitioners have one of the highest rates of Burnout syndrome.

According to studies, roughly 25-33% of critical care nurses exhibit signs of severe BOS, with up to 86% having at least one of the three typical symptoms. That in critical care healthcare workers can lead to PTSD, alcoholism and even suicidal ideation.


Causes of occupational burnouts

What causes it? (Image via Freepik/Freepik)
What causes it? (Image via Freepik/Freepik)

Occupational burnout can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including:

1) Control issues

The inability to influence job-related decisions, like your schedule, assignments or workload may result in job burnout. A lack of resources to complete your assignment could also be an issue.


2) Ambiguous job expectations

You're unlikely to feel at ease at work if you're unsure about your level of authority or what your supervisor or others expect from you.


3) Social support is lacking

You may experience more stress if you feel alone at work and in your private life. That can result in the rise of burnout syndrome symptoms in the long run.


4) Unbalanced worklife

You risk burning out rapidly if your work consumes too much time and energy that you lose the energy to devote time to your loved ones.


5) Disturbed workplace environment

How does your company culture support mental health? (Image via Freepik/Freepik)
How does your company culture support mental health? (Image via Freepik/Freepik)

Perhaps you share a workplace with a bully, feel undercut by coworkers, or your employer micromanages your job. Being concentrated requires constant energy whether a job is monotonous or hectic, which can cause fatigue and job burnout.

It doesn't happen overnight that you start to feel worn out, cynical and unproductive. When problems pile up till you can take them no longer, burnout results.

These burnout syndrome warning signs might appear at any time and from a wide range of sources. However, it's vital to keep in mind that you are powerless over certain of them.

Concentrate on what you can control, but remember that other factors like a hostile workplace, bad leadership or unfair treatment can contribute to burnout just as much as you.


Burnout syndrome has major effects on both mental and physical well-being, and it's more dangerous than the stress of our regular work. We become fatigued and lose all joy in our work when we're burnt out.

Resilience is a psychological trait that allows a person to adjust in a healthy way following a traumatic event. Resilience has been identified as a strategy for reducing symptoms and the development of PTSD following trauma, as well as a potential prevention and treatment for BOS.

While certain traits of resilience are inherited or inherent, others can be learnt. Being positive, having cognitive flexibility, creating and upholding a supportive social network, practising mindfulness and exercising are all examples of resiliency approaches.

Organisational interventions should strive to keep a healthy work environment to establish a safe space for all their employees.


Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


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Edited by Bhargav