Professional burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Burnout can occur when an individual feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. Prolonged stress can cause an individual to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. Burnout is a serious concern among those working in the criminal justice and social services field. When burnout occurs, it reduces productivity, drains energy, and can leave a person feeling resentful and hopeless.

Burnout not only effects an individual work life but can spill over to include home life, social life, and other personal areas. It can change a person’s body and make them more vulnerable to illness, colds, and the flu.

How to know if you are on the road to burnout?

  • Everyday is a bad day
  • Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy
  • You’re exhausted all the time
  • You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated
  • Most of your day is spent on tasks you find either dull or overwhelming

Having a bad day or feeling overloaded, even unappreciated, doesn’t necessarily mean an individual is burned out or on the road to burnout. However, meeting all these symptoms is a good indicator to reach out and get additional support.

Burnout occurs over a long period of time and can easily creep up. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help an individual address burn out symptoms and red flags sooner. For example, trying to reduce overall stress.

Psychical signs and symptoms of burnout?

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, frequent illness
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite and sleep habits

Emotional signs of burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook

Behavioral sign

  • withdrawing from responsibilities
  • isolating yourself from others
  • procrastinating
  • using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope

Understanding the early signs and symptoms of burnout can help an individual reduce their overall stress by addressing these concerns through counseling, self-care, or other services. Working in high stress fields everyday can be hard and burnout occurs frequently. Its important for professionals to understand the risks and try to address any early symptoms as soon as possible.


Burnout Prevention and Treatment. (2019, November 7). Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/burnout-prevention-and-recovery.htm.


Posted 10 months ago on in CJ 725

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