Burnout redefined by WHO as 'syndrome' linked to chronic workplace stress

Feeling stressed out at work? You aren't alone.

The World Health Organization is updating its definition of burn-out, calling it a "syndrome" and tying it directly to "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed."

WHO also said burn-out is characterized by "feelings of exhaustion," "increased mental distance from one's job," and "reduced professional efficacy."

Lynn Bufka, the associate executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association, said she hopes that WHO's updated definition of burn-out helps raise awareness if the problem.

"It highlights that burnout is real, that it's not something imagined," Bufka explained. "I hope that it will call to attention the fact that, if possible, work settings can do things to help their employees, help their employees manage stress in some ways so that they don't become as burned out by the work that they're facing."

Bufka also said she hopes this helps people recognize when they're experiencing symptoms of burn-out so they can get help.