Burnout refers to an emotional and physical state of exhaustion caused by a situation of prolonged stress, most commonly at work.


Burnout refers to an emotional and physical state of exhaustion caused by a situation of prolonged stress, most commonly at work. It is usually perfectionists with a strong sense of duty who tend to develop burnout. Preventive measures include a balanced lifestyle with sufficient sleep and exercise, social contact and relaxation.


  • Physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Sleep disorders
  • Distant, indifferent attitude to the job (in contrast to previous high levels of dedication and commitment)
  • Feeling like a professional and personal failure
  • Loss of belief in one’s own abilities
  • Feeling of helplessness and loss of control
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches, muscle tenseness
  • Increased sweating, heart palpitations
  • Physical weakness
  • Digestive disorders
  • Sluggish libido

Complications associated with one-sided or late treatment, or a lack of treatment:

Causes and treatment


  • Typical personality traits
    • Very high expectations of yourself, perfectionism
    • Strong sense of duty
  • Permanent situation of mental overload or underload (which is called “boreout”)
  • Feeling of being treated unfairly
  • Fear of losing your job
  • Work-related stress
  • Bullying at work
  • Chronic, unsolved conflicts (in both private as well as professional life)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Recording of medical history, including professional and family situation
  • Various questionnaires
  • Laboratory tests (to exclude physical cause or disease)
Possible therapies
  • Dictated by the individual's circumstances
  • Often patients need to totally rethink their life, with support from a professional
  • For severe symptoms of depression: medication-based support may be useful
  • Various relaxation therapies and alternative medical practices (see below)

What can I do myself?

  • Balanced lifestyle
  • Sufficient sleep
  • Healthy diet
  • Sufficient exercise
  • Good balance between exertion and relaxation
  • Keep up social contacts
  • Mindful observation of own physical and emotional needs
  • Learn relaxation techniques
  • Acquire self-esteem
  • Rethink the work situation
  • If necessary, talk to supervisor to clear up uncertainties

Try out different forms of therapy:

  • Active stress management training / stress management
  • Autogenic training
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Tai chi, qigong
  • Craniosacral therapy, neural therapy
  • Massage
  • Hydrotherapy (e.g. Kneipp therapy)
  • Acupuncture
  • Pilates

When to see a doctor?

  • Suicidal thoughts, thoughts about not wanting to live any more
  • Long period of being in low spirits
  • Feeling of lacking energy, exhaustion
  • Inability to experience joy
  • Constant irritability
  • Inability to take decisions
  • Self-doubt, low sense of self-worth
  • Sleep disorders
  • Persistent feeling of inner emptiness

Further information

Burnout info


burnout syndrome, stress disorder, fatigue syndrome, stress, burnout

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.