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No matter whether a housewife, manager or teacher – it can affect anyone. People suffering from burnout feel burnt out, empty and powerless. As performance decreases, emotional exhaustion and fear of failure increase. Those affected feel completely overwhelmed and buried under a wealth of expectations from other people. They can no longer meet their own demands either.

At Schoen Clinic, we support you in accepting your burnout symptoms and accepting help. With an individual therapy programme, we help you to develop strategies and attitudes so that you can cope better with stress situations in the future.

Causes & symptoms

Causes: How does burnout occur?

There are many causes for the development of burnout syndrome. The decisive factor is above all the attitude towards one’s own performance at work and in everyday life. A high need to meet one’s own high demands as well as for appreciation and recognition is typical. At the same time, those affected pay little, hardly any or no attention to their own psychological and physical limits.

Personality traits with an increased risk of developing burnout syndrome:
  • perfectionist attitudes
    (“I have to do everything right and 150 percent. I can’t afford to make any mistakes. I’m responsible for everything. I have to satisfy everyone. I have to have everything under control.”)
  • low expectation of competency
    (“I can't make it. I don't stand a chance.”)
  • very pronounced need for harmony
    (“Everyone must be satisfied. I mustn’t offend anyone. I can't say no.”)
  • Belief that they are being controlled from outside
    (“I am only a very small cog in a large machine: Others decide about me. I'm just a puppet.”)
Frustration grows over time. Those affected only notice their great exhaustion when the mood changes from euphoria to resignation. A feeling of inner emptiness spreads. It hits some people like a blow. The triggers include excessive workload, high time and deadline pressure, and a lack of a voice and communication in the company. The first thing that strikes friends and family is usually the increased irritability of the person affected.

130 burnout signs are currently known. What is typical is above all the feeling of being "burned out". Despite ever-longer breaks or periods of recovery, patients with burnout are unable to get rid of this feeling.

If you have several of the following symptoms, you should seek help urgently:

Most common burnout symptoms:  
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of energy
  • Constant fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Reduced performance
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Reduced initiative and imagination
Physical symptoms:
  • More frequent colds
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disorders
  • Respiratory problems
  • Chest tightness
  • Dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Tinnitus
  • Sexual problems
  • Perspiration
  • Tiredness
Other signs:
  • Indifference
  • Disillusionment
  • Tendency to cry
  • Feeling of faintness
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of empathy
  • Cynicism
  • Loss of idealism
  • Bitterness
  • Relationship and/or family problems
These signs indicate an imminent burnout:

Warning signals are often ignored by those affected. Either because they don't really notice the symptoms or because they don't want to. The process is gradual: it can take a long time before burnout syndrome is fully developed. Take warning signals seriously and seek help.  

Warning signals:
  • Feeling of being indispensable
  • Feeling like you never have enough time
  • Hyperactivity
  • Being unable to say no
  • Voluntarily unpaid overtime
  • Concentration problems
  • Decision-making problems
  • Imprecision
  • Difficulties in performing complex tasks
  • Daydreams (escape fantasies)
  • Dissatisfaction with one’s own performance
  • Decreasing friendliness
  • Feeling of a lack of recognition and appreciation
  • Lack of humour
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Indeterminate anxiety and nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Self-pity
  • Mistrust
  • Withdrawal from private contacts
  • Relationship and marriage problems
  • Sports accidents
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Increased tablet consumption
  • Frequent checking of the time at work
  • Rewarding oneself with purchases
  • Increased conflicts with colleagues, superiors or students
  • Change in eating habits


Diagnosis: How burnout syndrome is detected

As a rule, burnout patients first consult a doctor about physical complaints such as sleep disorders, headaches or digestive problems. If the doctor cannot find any physical causes, he refers the patient to a specialist.Now it's a matter of precise clarification: burnout syndrome or depression? Migraines or headaches as a result of burnout syndrome? A detailed discussion is the most important element for an exact diagnosis.

Excluding organic causes

If there is still suspicion of an organic disease, our specialists will, of course, clarify this. Exhaustion and fatigue can also be symptoms of hypothyroidism, chronic infection or tumours, for example. Examinations such as blood tests, ultrasound or other imaging procedures provide certainty.

Questionnaires support an initial suspicion

After the consultation, we also carry out psychological burnout tests, if required, which are supported by questionnaires. They can help to confirm the impression gained in the conversation and substantiate or refute an initial suspicion. At Schoen Clinic, two types of certified questionnaires are used in particular:

  • the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)
    This self-description questionnaire contains 22 questions. On a scale, you can enter how severe certain physical symptoms and moods are for you. However, only existing burnout syndrome can be diagnosed with the help of this questionnaire.

  • Questionnaire on work-related behaviour and experience patterns
    This questionnaire is a good tool for predicting imminent burnout syndrome. Your answers illustrate your commitment to work, your resistance to occupational stress and your current emotional state. This questionnaire also provides information on how you deal with difficult situations. If burnout patterns appear here, we can work on your behavioural patterns during the subsequent therapy.

Personal conversation

In discussions with our psychologists, you can fully rely on our many years of experience. At Schoen Clinic, we ask the right questions, read between the lines and can thus exactly distinguish organic diseases from burnout symptoms. We check all of the current symptoms and concern ourselves with your personal attitude towards family and work. This enables us to diagnose existing secondary diseases such as depression or pain disorders.