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

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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.

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