Emotional burnout syndrome

Updated 2 years ago on April 08, 2023

Emotional burnout syndrome is a state of emotional, mental exhaustion, physical fatigue that occurs as a result of chronic stress at work. It can be characterized by impaired productivity at work, fatigue, insomnia, increased susceptibility to somatic diseases, use of alcohol or other psychoactive substances, suicidal behavior.

Development of this syndrome is characteristic, first of all, for the professions that are focused on helping people (medical workers, teachers, psychologists, social workers, rescuers, law enforcement officers, firemen). Work with "heavy" clients (gerontological, oncological patients, aggressive, suicidal patients, patients with addictions) also predisposes to burnout.

SEA is seen as a result of adverse workplace stress resolution.

Signs of burnout:

  • Behavioral changes: boredom, resistance to going to work, tardiness, substance use, exposure to accidents, decreased creativity.
  • Change in feelings: depression, gallows humor, feelings of failure, guilt, bitterness, irritability, feelings of nagging.
  • Changes in thinking: reduced concentration, rigidity, suspiciousness, distrustfulness, victim mentality, callousness.
  • Changes in health: sleep disturbance, fatigue, decreased immunity.

Phases of SSE development (by Selje)

  • I Tension phase.
    It is a precursor and "triggering" mechanism of emotional burnout formation. The development of BOT is preceded by a period of increased activity, when a person is completely absorbed in work, refuses needs not related to it, forgets about his/her own needs. If these efforts of the worker are adequately evaluated and supported, if the person receives a feeling of importance and significance of his work, SED does not develop. If not, and there is a collapse of perceptions, then SEA gets its own development.
  • II Resistance Phase.
    The person seeks psychological comfort and therefore tries to reduce the pressure of external circumstances.
  • III Phase of exhaustion.
    Characterized by a drop in the general energy tone and a weakening of the nervous system. "Burnout" becomes an inherent attribute of the personality.

Metastases of "burnout" penetrate a person's system of values. There is an anti-humanistic attitude. A person claims that work with people is not interesting, does not give satisfaction, does not represent social value.

Prevention and treatment of burnout syndrome.

What protects against the development of SEB can also be used in the therapy of a syndrome that has already developed.

Two aspects can be distinguished here: the individual protection and the organizational approach.

Let's consider the qualities that help a specialist avoid professional burnout.

First, it is the following individual-personal characteristics of the person:

  • Conscious, purposeful care of one's physical condition (e.g., exercising and supporting a healthy lifestyle).
  • High self-esteem and confidence in oneself, one's abilities and capabilities (work with unstable self-esteem, reading psychological literature or consulting a psychotherapist who will give directions in this matter).
  • High professional self-esteem (the need to constantly improve your professional level).

Secondly, burnout is avoided by people who have, experience of successful overcoming of professional stress; capable to change constructively in stressful conditions.

Thirdly, an important distinguishing feature of people who are not exposed to SSE is the ability to form and maintain positive, optimistic attitudes and values about themselves, other people and life in general. To conclude this brief review of individual remedies, I would like to say that "Heartlessness toward oneself is also an injury.

Be attentive to yourself. At the first manifestations of SEB, begin to act: rest, meet with friends, change the environment, discover your creative abilities. If the means at hand don't help, seek help. This can be a visit to training (from personal growth training to creativity training), individual or group work with a therapist. Remember, SSE will not go away on its own, you need to take steps to protect yourself. If you feel that you cannot cope with the problem yourself, do not delay going to a specialist.

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