Depression can be present before burnout begins .
Depression can arise during burnout.. coincidentally or related.
In the latter stages of severe burnout, depression is a feature.
What this means is that some people are prescribed antidepressants ‘for’ burnout.
Burnout does not reverse on antidepressants. Nor does it go away after a holiday .
Yet a short break away from work &/or antidepressants are often the ‘treatment’ suggested.
That doesn’t make holidays or antidepressants bad.... just that burnout is unlikely to improve with those two ‘interventions’ along - primarily because the causes of burnout are not generally depression or lack of holiday.
In order to reverse the suffering of burnout one needs to look at the multiple and unique blend of things contributing to that persons burnout.
Antidepressants may be indicated IF there is clear evidence of depression but.... that will still only treat the depression NOT the burnout.
Similarly a good long break from work can assist recovery from burnout but most normal holidays are simply not long enough .
If no changes are made to the job or how the person copes ....most people with burnout will dread going on holiday and... returning from holiday.
And just to confuse things further - some researchers have said that burnout is a form of depression. The World Health Organisation has not classified burnout as a mental illness - so that would seem to refute the depression label. The verdict is out on this for now but at the end of the day - what we call burnout is somewhat academic - the point is - it needs to be addressed and ousted from our workplaces and our lives.
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