The World Health Organization has for the first time recognized “burn-out” in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which is widely used as a benchmark for diagnosis and health insurers.
The decision, reached during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, which wraps up on 28 May 2019, could help put to rest decades of debate among experts over how to define burn-out, and whether it should be considered a medical condition.
The ICD-11, which is to take effect in January 2022, contains several other additions, including classification of “compulsive sexual behavior” as a mental disorder, although it stops short of lumping the condition together with addictive behaviors.
Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life. The updated ICD list, dubbed ICD-11, was drafted last year following recommendations from health experts around the world and was approved on 25 May 2019.