5 Common Symptoms of Burnout Syndrome

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You may not think you suffer from burnout syndrome, but if you are experiencing the symptoms listed below then there is a good chance that you do. Burnout can be an extremely serious condition that can lead to both physical and mental exhaustion. Although it is an under-recognized condition. If left untreated burnout could place you at risk for a lower quality of life and even depression.

What Is Burnout Syndrome?

Burnout is an under-recognized mental illness characterized by chronic stress, decreased energy, and long-term exhaustion.

The Causes of Burnout

The burnout syndrome is caused by chronic stress. Stress can be defined as a response to an adverse situation that causes the body’s nervous system to go into overdrive and keeps it there for extended periods. The person experiencing stress will feel tired and exhausted and they may lose control of their emotions and behaviors around certain people or in certain situations. Stress is most often caused by work. It can also be caused by many other factors such as financial obligations, academics, and family issues.

There are 5 common symptoms of burnout syndrome:

  1. High-stress levels (intense anxiety)
  2. Ongoing exhaustion (lack of energy)
  3. Depersonalization (the alienation of one’s self from others and the outside world)
  4. Cynicism (excessive criticism or blame of other people, institutions, or life in general)
  5. Lack of personal accomplishment (feeling like you do not achieve any success in life).
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The 5 common symptoms of burnout syndrome (explained)

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1. High-stress levels (intense anxiety)

There is no physical limit on how much stress you can experience before burnout syndrome sets in, but the level of stress must be above a certain threshold for this to happen. You do not need to feel like your life or career is falling apart to suffer from high-stress levels. Stress is not an issue of perspective, but rather one that is measured by the amount of harm it causes. If you feel like your body and mind can not handle the stress anymore then you might be suffering from burnout syndrome.

Identify your intense anxiety: You can measure your stress level by finding out how often you feel stressed.

How to reduce anxiety: Reducing anxiety is a good way to manage stress. In some cases, patients have had more success with anti-anxiety medication than they did with medications used to treat depression, although this does not work for everyone.

2. Ongoing exhaustion (lack of energy)

If you are exhausted all the time there is a good chance that you suffer from burnout syndrome. It is not uncommon to feel exhausted all of the time in a high-stress environment, but burnout syndrome can manifest itself in areas far from work and school if stress particles are constantly being released into your environment. If you feel like you have no energy for things that once brought you joy then it might be time to start thinking about the chronic stress you experience and how to get away from it.

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Identify your lack of energy: You can measure your level of exhaustion by evaluating when you feel most tired.

How to reduce exhaustion: You may need to make some lifestyle changes, but these should help significantly with reducing overall anxiety levels. If you are not well-rested, you will have a much harder time coping with stress without having burnout syndrome.

3. Depersonalization (the alienation of one’s self from others)

Burnout syndrome is associated with a sense of estrangement or isolation, which can lead to depersonalization or derealization. When you feel like your life is not your own and you feel like a stranger to other people it can be a sign that burnout syndrome has taken over. It’s important to remember that these feelings will pass as stress levels drop, but if you continue feeling this way every day then it might be time to seek professional help.

Identify your feelings of depersonalization: You can measure your sense of estrangement by identifying when you feel most disconnected from the people around you.

How to reduce alienation: You can reduce your sense of being alienated by reaching out to other people or seeking help from a medical professional. During periods of high stress, it can be normal to feel like you don’t belong.

4. Cynicism (excessive criticism or blame of other people)

Cynicism is a common response to chronic stress and burnout syndrome is linked with higher instances of this trait. If you feel like the world is worse than it actually is and everybody around you is stupid then chances are that your feelings towards the world have been skewed as a result of burnout syndrome. Stress can cause the body to produce more cortisol, which is a hormone that can have damaging effects on the brain and muscles over time. Identifying your cynical thoughts can help you identify burnout syndrome before it takes over.

Identify your unhealthy level of cynicism: You can measure unhealthy levels of cynicism by evaluating when you are most likely to see the negative side of things instead of the positive.

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How to reduce cynicism: If you suffer from burnout syndrome and think that your anxiety levels might be high then reducing stress and seeking support can help with this issue. You can also try to focus on the good things in your life, which will help you see things in a more positive light.

5. Lack of personal accomplishment (feeling like you do not achieve any success)

One of the most common symptoms of burnout syndrome is a lack of achievement or progress toward your goals. If you feel like every step forward is followed by two steps back then it might be a sign that burnout syndrome has seeped into your life. When burnout sets in, the brain begins to think about survival rather than stimulating growth and achieving goals. This can cause many people to “check out” of their lives completely, which is why people suffering from burnout syndrome often feel like they achieve nothing in life.

Identify your lack of personal accomplishment: You can measure how successful you feel by evaluating when you feel like you aren’t achieving much in life.

How to reduce lack of progress: You can improve your personal life by analyzing the root cause of your burnout syndrome and then seeking help with this. You can also try to set small, achievable goals that will help you feel like you are moving forward.


Although it can be easy to ignore the symptoms of burnout syndrome, it is important to keep an eye on your level of stress and overall health. If you find yourself experiencing some or all of the 5 common symptoms of burnout syndrome then it might be time to take a step back and reevaluate the way you live. This does not mean that you should give up on your goals or life plans, but rather reanalyze how you achieve them. We all have stress in our lives, but there is a difference between daily tasks that can cause minor amounts of stress and tasks that cause major amounts of stress. If you are constantly feeling stressed out then it might be time to step back, take a deep breath, and apply some self-care techniques before burnout sets in.

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