Fashion diagnoses: Depression is not the same as burnout

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Stress, Burnout and Depression: Fashion Diagnoses: Do not confuse depression with burnout

Burnout! With this result, many stress-plagued people end up doing psycho tests on the subject of overload in magazines or on the Internet. Some patients who tell their therapists that they suffer from burnout may also have depression.

Burnout sounds better than depression
Experts doubt whether the diagnosis of burnout is really always right in many stress-stricken people. The psychiatrist and psychotherapist Hans Joachim Thimm warns against a mixture of the manifestations of stress, depression and burnout. Patients would rather tell their therapists that they have burnout than depression. "That sounds better, but it means that patients are not always treated properly," said Thimm on the sidelines of the conference "Fashion Diagnostics in Psychiatry" on Friday in Hemer, Sauerland. The conference dealt with various topics, including the risk of addiction from online games and cybersex.

Burnout can develop into depression
Burnout, stress and depression are different manifestations. However, according to Thimm, burnout could well develop into a depression. Depression leads to absolute hopelessness, exhaustion or apathy. "You can't even joke around in the presence of those affected," said the senior consultant in general psychiatry at the Dortmund clinic of the regional association of Westphalia-Lippe, Thimm. Some patients did not want to accept such a diagnosis.

Not always clearly diagnosable
According to health insurance estimates, a quarter to a third of Germans say they feel burned out. It is not always possible to clearly diagnose whether there is a burnout in any case, because the symptoms are very diffuse. Gregor Peikert, psychotherapist from the Jena University Hospital, said last year that the term "burnout" came from the field of occupational psychology and should be understood as the consequences of excessive stress from the job.

Also an operational problem
Thimm said: “Burnout is often the result of a gratification crisis in the job. It's not just about money. It is about recognition and a secure job. Expenditures and rewards have to be balanced. ”He divides those affected into three groups: in one there is an excessive level of demands and a high propensity to spend. Others decide to accept an unfair employment relationship at least temporarily. And the people in the third group are job dependent and prefer to work on unfair terms rather than not at all. What they all have in common is that they are plagued by inner restlessness, irritability, nervousness, aggressiveness and inner tension, as well as being tired, weary and weary. "Burnout is not only an individual problem, but also a problem of the company."

"I'm empty"
According to the diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization, the syndrome cannot even be coded as the main diagnosis. The additional diagnosis "problem with difficulties in coping with life" must be entered in order to identify depression. On the other hand, those who show symptoms of stress are subject to high stimuli Fear of failure: "I'm empty," is a typical sentence of those affected.

Different stress factors
Stress can be created by a variety of factors, including heat, noise, conflict or isolation. The body reacts to this by permanently releasing hormones that can no longer be completely broken down. Possible consequences are that cardiovascular problems, metabolic diseases, sexual disorders or stomach ulcers could develop. (ad)

Image: Jorma Bork /

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