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WHO classifies burnout as 'occupational phenomenon'

May 31, 2019

The World Health Organization announced May 28 that it now recognizes burnout syndrome as an "occupational phenomenon."

The designation coincides with an upcoming program from the ADA Practice Institute. Burnout is the focus of the 2019 Dentist Health and Well-Being Program Conference Aug. 16 in Chicago.

WHO stressed that burnout syndrome is not a medical condition. It is included in the organization's handbook of medical diagnoses, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

According to WHO, burnout refers to "phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life."

WHO uses these three characteristics when recognizing burnout:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
  • Increased mental distance from one's job; feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job.
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

The Aug. 16 event in Chicago, You First: Management and Prevention of Burnout in Dentistry, will feature sessions on recognizing and preventing burnout, dealing with the stigma of being a provider with mental health issues, and a questions-and-answers session with professionals who have experienced burnout.

To register, visit