Are burnout and depression the same thing
Are burnout and depression the same thing
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Are Burnout and Depression the same thing?

Are Burnout and Depression the same thing?

Truly knowing the difference between burnout and depression is the first step towards finding the right solution for whatever hole you may be in right now.

Whilst the extreme end of burnout can be associated with physical and mental disorders, which can often be very difficult to recover from. The real priority is to treat burnout as something that can accompany a mental health condition. That said burnout is not necessarily a mental illness such as anxiety and depression.

In fact, experts believe that illnesses such as depression and anxiety are what actually lead to burnout, and that it is important to address your symptoms sooner rather than later. For business owners who are overworked and emotionally exhausted, their symptoms can jeopardize their work if they over compensate and work through mental illness, and manifest in the form of something such as depression.

So if burnout and depression can look clinically the same, why is depression so often in a category of it’s own? How can we know if we are suffering directly from depression or becoming depressed. And how can we tell if we are actually suffering from burnout?

If the difference between stress and burnout is the degree to which you show symptoms, then it is important to understand how you can distinguish between stress signs and burnout signs.


Treatment of burnout and depression can overlap, but the big difference is that burnout, unlike depression, is not usually treated with medication. You want to be careful not to confuse burn-out with depression or depression with burnout because the remedies are different. If depression is ruled out as a diagnosis, treatment depends on whether one believes they are suffering from burnout or not.

So one solution is to visit your GP and ask them to test to see if you are suffering with depression. If the diagnosis is no, then the chances are that it is burnout. If it’s burnout, this is not something that can be healed with antidepressants.

Some of the best things that can help with burnout are things that can be difficult to implement. For example, you need as much sleep and rest as possible. Eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and managing the mindset as much as possible.

The Psychology

Clinical psychologist Gulcin Senyuva says that while depression is usually unrelated to work, business or life it can result from experiencing life events or trauma of any kind, it is not just the nature of work that causes burnout.

What many of us do when we get burn-out is do more work because one of the causes of burnout is congestion. Even with burnout, you can categorize the symptoms of depression, as it is a combination of many different symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depression and anxiety.

Burnout, depression and anxiety are considered separate from people, but Schönfeld believes it might be more useful to see them as a continuum.

Some may think that burnout is a mental condition, which is mostly caused by mental illness, while the others are mostly physical ailments. But symptoms of depression and exhaustion are not necessarily interchangeable, says Dr. Schönfeld.

While some people cope with both burnout and the health symptoms associated with chronic stress, according to Schönfeld, it is important to recognize burnout for what it is, and not as a kind of “depression” that occurs in response to a terrible work situation.

It is also important to remember that if someone experiences both burnout and depression then it’s likely to impact other areas of their lives as a result.

In short, Burnout and Depression are not the same thing. They both have very similar symptoms and both can be difficult to diagnose. But the important thing to remember is to seek medical advice. Regardless of whether it’s burnout or depression you are suffering from, it’s important to address the situation at the earliest possible time.

My experience

Both depression and burnout if left untended to can cause all sorts of issues both mentally and physically. My own burnout led to me becoming paralyzed from the neck down. Because I refused to pay attention to the warning signs.

Don’t delay, if you’re feeling the symptoms of confusion, stress, sleeplessness and fatigue on a consistent basis. Seek help from a professional.

Take a look at my meditations which can help you with burnout.

What do you think?

Written by Ayse Durmush

Ayse Durmush is The Transformation Expert. Ayse has transformed the digital, strategy, lead generation and operations of countless businesses and consulted for high profile brands. She is not just passionate about business but also has a passion for the dynamics and ideas behind personal transformation too.

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