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Burnout causes more and more lost work
More and more people suffer from burnout fatigue syndrome. According to an evaluation by the AOK Scientific Institute (WidO), every tenth day of absence from work is due to mental illness. Around 80 percent more sick days due to mental disorders have been recorded since 1999.
Every tenth day of absence due to burnout syndrome
More and more workers in Germany suffer from acute signs of exhaustion and have to be on sick leave due to a burnout. Already every tenth day of absence from work was attributed to acute exhaustion and depression in 2010, an increase of a whopping 80 percent compared to 1999.
To collect data, the AOK Institute evaluated the patient data of the approximately ten million AOK insured persons who are subject to social insurance. The total sick leave was 4.8 percent. That corresponds to the status of the previous year.
“Among the 10.1 million AOK-insured employees, sickness stagnated in 2010 at 4.8 percent compared to the previous year. Mental illnesses in particular are still on the rise. Absenteeism due to mental illness has increased by almost 80 percent since 1999 and leads to long downtimes: at 23.4 days per case, this is twice as long as the average at 11.6 days per case in 2010. ”
Burnout syndrome as a state of physical and mental exhaustion is recorded under the diagnosis “Problems related to difficulties in coping with life”. This diagnosis therefore belongs to the group of "factors that influence health status". This means that a burnout cannot be coded by the doctors as an independent mental illness, but this diagnosis is increasingly given as additional information: Between 2004 and 2010, the 8.1 days of incapacity for work per 1,000 AOK members were 72.3 days increased almost nine times. Extrapolated to more than 34 million employees with statutory health insurance in Germany, this means: "Nearly 100,000 people with a total of more than 1.8 million absenteeism were then on sick leave in 2010 due to a burnout," says Schröder from the WIdO increased by almost nine times compared to 2004 in Germany.
Middle-aged women are particularly affected
Middle-aged women are particularly often affected. According to the evaluation, women are twice as likely to be on sick leave due to mental illnesses as men (102 absenteeism women, 50 absenteeism men). People in nursing and pedagogical professions are particularly affected. The science institute saw high burn-out rates among home managers, social workers or nursing staff. But employees of hotlines and operators also obviously suffer from the high level of stress and are therefore often unable to work. "The increased challenges in life for specific groups of employees, such as women, older employees or helping professions, can also be seen in sick reports following a burnout," says researcher Helmut Schröder.
Burnout diagnosis is less stigmatizing today
The researchers suspect that the increase is due to the more frequent diagnosis by doctors. Nowadays, medical professionals are better educated through advanced training and recognize mental disorders or impairments faster than ten years ago. In addition, the diagnosis of burnout is less stigmatizing today than it was a few years ago, according to the scientists. However, the requirements at the workplace have also increased continuously. This creates more stress and work pressure. "Against the background of these new results, it is important not only to reduce the stress in the professional environment, but also to strengthen the resources and the handling of stress for each individual," explained Helmut Schröder, Vice-Managing Director of the institute.
These results show that certain occupational groups in particular are affected by burnout and should therefore also be the focus of preventive measures. The AOK Absenteeism Report 2011, which will be published in August, will therefore shed more light on the topic of “leadership”. (sb)
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Image: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de