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The link between burnout and depression

New Yorkers who work in and around urban centers likely face some of the highest burnout rates in the country. The Empire State is known for its cut-throat business environment, high-pressure deals and a fast-paced life at work and play. While employers should take some personal responsibility for holding unreasonable — or at least, unhealthy — expectations of workers, it is ultimately up to workers to identify the signs of burnout and take action.

According to NBC News, the World Health Organization believes occupational burnout is a serious workplace hazard. While the organization did not refer to it as a medical condition, it certainly put employers on notice. Workers should also look out for the following symptoms:

  •          Lack of engagement with work
  •          Negative or cynical feelings related to work
  •          Exhaustion and an overall feeling of depletion
  •          Reduced efficiency at work or increase in errors

Some workers who love their jobs may believe they are immune to burnout, but this idea is false. The increased use of technology, the 24/7 connectivity and a near inability to disengage from work can create many problems in workers’ professional and social lives. In fact, stressful jobs lead to the deaths of 120,000 workers in America every year.

Many people now wonder if there is a strong link with depression. According to Today, some people may actually be confusing the symptoms of depression with burnout. One professor of psychology cited in the article posited that high levels of burnout may either lead to or be caused by depression. Some professionals prefer to link one to the other on a continuum, because they so often go hand in hand.

In fact, professionals who treat burnout and depression use similar methods for both. These include dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Health care and social science professionals also identity that two factors may continue to make burnout a problem in America: difficulties with saying no and the stigma attached to mental health.

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  • Walter J. Roesch IV
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