The relationship between burnout and irritability

Burnout syndrome is one of the psychological disorders associated with work, but the implications extend beyond the professional world. In fact, those who suffer from this mismatch tend to behave differently in personal relationships as well as in their private lives, because the wear and tear they suffer from does not go away at the end of the working day.

In the following lines we will discuss one of the psychological consequences of burnout syndrome that has the greatest potential to harm personal relationships: irritability.

    What is Burn Syndrome?

    Burn syndrome, also known as burnout syndrome or burnout syndrome, is a collection of psychological symptoms that arise from continuous exposure to a work environment that emotionally tires the worker and is linked to high levels of stress. This concept is described in the International Classification of Diseases, although it is absent from DSM-5, another of the most widely used diagnostic manuals in the field of mental health.

    On the other hand, research conducted on burnout syndrome shows that there are certain professions more inclined to facilitate the onset of this psychological problem. For example, healthcare professionals seem particularly vulnerable to suffer from this phenomenon, which is not surprising given the level of responsibility that a single person can have in this type of work.

    In the same way those jobs where there is an overload of work in general (given the resources available to the person and the relative lack of capacity to delegate tasks) also tend to generate a burn-out syndrome. And something similar happens with occupations where there is no clear separation between leisure and working hours, which may be associated with Parkinson’s Law: work tends to expand to cover all the time available to do so.

    On the other hand, the work is maintained at high demand levels without clearly offering the possibility of improving the employment situation in the short term, so that the person is subjected to a constant torrent of tasks which is not almost never interrupted. allow you to stop to see everything from a distance and more globally and to make strategic decisions (the worker under pressure tends to concentrate on urgent obligations because he feels overwhelmed).

    Thus, in the syndrome of occupational wear and tear, they occur three basic psychological characteristics:

    • Lots of work to do.
    • Insufficient number of incentives distributed in the short, medium and long term
    • Being in a situation where the person would not feel well delegating (or directly unable to do so) or taking time off

      How do burnout syndrome and irritability interact?

      In psychology, irritability is the propensity to respond with hostility to uninterrupted social interactions or to attitudes, reactions and consequences that go beyond what is expected when socializing or interacting with the environment. That is, it is associated with an interest in keeping interactions to the strict minimum necessary to achieve a specific objective, without having to devote more time and effort than necessary; any situation where this is not fulfilled generates uneasiness and a tendency to blame others or objects for this kind of “mishap”.

      So, irritability is clearly in anger and a predisposition to react with outbursts of anger to unforeseen situations, some of which in other circumstances would not even be considered a problem.

      Although people are prone to irritability, irritability also depends on the context, and the fact that they have developed burn syndrome makes it easier for it to appear. The cause is believed to be that due to the psychological wear and tear that this experience generates, the person feels they can take on other “fronts” of work which are seen as additional problems.

      Due to the physical and / or mental fatigue from which he suffers, he adopts a mentality from which he tries to compensate for this discomfort by being very sensitive to situations in which he could blame his environment for the setbacks that arise in his path.

        What can be done about this problem?

        Faced with the burn-out syndrome, it is important to have professional help in psychotherapy. In this way, stress and anxiety management skills can be trained, as well as time management and optimization methods.

        However, in many cases the solution is also to make changes in the professional realm, which can be aided by the process of introspection and prioritization that occurs in psychotherapy.

          Are you interested in having professional psychological support?

          If you want to start a psychotherapy process to overcome a problem related to anxiety, stress at work or other psychological disorders related to the world of work, get in touch with us.

          Elisabet Fisas Suriol

          Elisabet Fisas Suriol

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          In our psychology center, we take care of people of all ages and offer individual, family and couple psychotherapy. You can find us in Irun, or hire our services online via video calls.

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