Depression Vs. Burnout

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Depression and Burnout are not the same. One might occur with the other, but it's important to make a distinction between the two. Differentiating between them allows you to understand your mind and body more and know what to do for the betterment of your health.

They share some aspects like the consequences and sometimes causes as well. However, some major differences exist.

Depression is a Mental Disorder

Depression is commonly known as an extreme and deep sadness that hinders life. It is marked by intense feelings of hopelessness desperation. Depressed people also struggle with the loss of interest in important aspects of life as well as pervasive pessimistic thoughts. Throughout their lives, they tend to feel lost and perturbed; daily tasks begin to feel very taxing. They prefer to say alone and avoid doing simple tasks because they feel like they can't really handle them. Depression sometimes comes out of nowhere and without a clear reason. Simply put, it is a mental disorder that's branded with severe sadness.

Burnout is not a separate Disorder

Burnout, on the other hand, comes from a specific and prolonged stressful period. It could be a job, exams, or even daily but heavy tasks. The constant stress activates the flight or fight response. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for that reaction. If it goes on for a long period of time, the body will be totally drained and crucial consequences will fall on the individual. Burnout is mostly identified to be work-related. Thus, it is not a mental illness that stands independently.

Is it Burnout or Depression?

If you're not sure how to recognize what you're going through, try checking off the signs from the following lists.

What is the checklist of Depression symptoms?

The following signs are some of the most common of depression:

  • Constant helplessness and hopelessness
  • Either too much sleep or not enough
  • Change in eating habits, which is expressed through weight loss or gain
  • Anger, self-loathing, irritability
  • Loss in interests and dropping extra activities
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Feeling like you're better off dead

If you or somebody close to you checks off most of these symptoms, chances are they might be suffering from severe depression.

What is the checklist of Burnout symptoms?

Burnout is mostly identified with the following signs:

  • Total and heavy exhaustion that does not seem to go away with sleep
  • Fantasizing about being elsewhere to finally relax
  • Isolating one's self and ignoring friends and family
  • Frequent irritability making you snap at the smallest of things
  • Illnesses such as colds and headaches, since your body's immunity isn't working as it normally does
  • Dreading work and being in the work-place
  • Troubles with work performance

Note: Make sure to get checked and not take these symptoms lightly.

Do both Burnout and Depression have the same effects?

Both might share some effects, so let's check both long-term and short-term effects.

Long Term Effects of Depression

Long-term effects tackle what happens in the longer run.

Like aforementioned, depression is linked to other factors and important aspects.

Depression and Health

The health of the individual drops down when depression takes over. Lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and low self-care will affect the immune system and therefore cause physical problems.

Depression and Suicide

It is no secret that depression can often lead to suicide. The individual struggling with intense sadness will sometimes lose all hopes of getting better. Dreams of a better life will start to fade away. Thus, if it goes untreated, depression can push the person to end their life.

Other mental troubles

Since depression is almost always unseparated from other mental illnesses, it is no surprise that most people diagnosed with depression also suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, PDB, and even eating disorders.

Short term effects of Depression

Short-term effects last for a shorter period of time. They're also negative, just for a shorter time.

Sometimes what starts in this stage may carry out to become a long-term effect. Some short-term effects are:

  1. Eating disorders, such as bulimia or binge eating disorder
  2. Constant tiredness because of lack of sleep
  3. Negative thoughts
  4. Turning to other harmful means to try and forget bad events

Long Term Effects of Burnout

If gone untreated, burnout can have nearly irreversible effects. With long treatment and the right one, the individual might be able to put his life back on the right track.

Burnout and Health

Similar to depression, burnout affects both mental and physical health negatively. Since burnout drains the body, a feeling of dread will accompany the person constantly, and may even cause them to lose consciousness in dangerous places.

Add to that, and since the immunity system isn't working as it normally is, frequent illnesses will pop up.

Other mental troubles

Burnout is heavily linked to stress, depression, and anxiety. The cycle is vicious and sometimes endless.

Short term effects of Burnout

Burnout shares some short-term effects with depression, some are:

  1. Eating disorders
  2. Constant tiredness and exhaustion
  3. Constant stress and worry

Common Factor


When it comes to depression and burnouts, there are no specific age ranges. People from all ages can develop depression or experience burnout. Notice how depression is a mental disorder that can develop and burnout is a period in which the person feels drained.

Some people are more prone to experiencing depression and burnout. Such as people with:

●       Hard conditions of living

●       Family history with depression and other mental illnesses

●       Negative environmental factors

●       Life and daily demands

●       Daily stress

How to Treat Depression and Burnout? Treatment Methods

How to treat Depression and Burnout?

Therapy and expert help are always advised, especially if someone's health is deteriorating fast. Below are two of the most used methods to cure and help with depression and burnout.


Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is all about behavior and daily actions. It explains why you're reacting in a certain way in order to reverse it or completely replace the action with something else.

Using reason, it aims to explain why you're experiencing burnouts or struggling with depression. Through that, finding a treatment plan becomes easier and more applicable. An expert follows through with you and makes sure your recovery is smooth.


This method relies on a therapist's help. It is when the patient has recurrent sessions with a professional. Individual sessions are more confidential, but family and group therapy are other options.

Group therapy relies on other people; it's where everyone sits together and shares stories and experiences. It helps with venting and letting out troubles, as well as relating to others.


Experts suggest taking care of the self, first and foremost. Relaxation, pausing to breathe, and prioritizing the health are a must. If your job is the cause of this exhaustion, you need to reevaluate it and organize it in a way that does not drain you out.

Taking trips, interacting with other people, and surrounding yourself with what and who you love are very helpful. Never neglect yourself and your health.

Medications Used

When the effects become too much, a therapist might suggest using medications to lessen the side effects and making the patient's journey easier. Medication does not immediately take depression or burnout away, but it helps.

Depression had Medications

Certain medications that are used for depression are:

●       Antidepressants

●       Antianxiety

●       Antipsychotic medicines

Burnout has Injections

Medications that are for burnout aren't as widely used. In fact, it wasn't until 2019 that the FDA approved Peaceaudi injection for burnout.

Sometimes medication does not work. Patients go through a tiresome process to find the right one. An expert will accompany you on that path and take care of your mental health.


Q) How to help someone with depression?

A) If you notice someone struggling with depression and you want to help, you can:

  1. Research well the topic and know what's going on
  2. Always be there in case they cannot handle difficulties
  3. Try to have kind interventions
  4. Engage with them and check-up often on their wellbeing

Q) Can both burnout and depression occur together?

A) Not necessarily, but they sometimes do. Seeing as they share some symptoms and effects, it is likely that they interlope and occur simultaneously.

Q) Is depression related to addictions?

A) Depression can lead to addictions. A person might try to search for a way of release and thus turn to addictions. Drinking is very common and occurs with depression frequently. What people can't deal with may turn into something that's even more harmful, without them knowing or meaning to.

Q) Is burnout just like stress?

A) No. Stress can occur without burnout. However, burnout cannot occur without stress. Burnout is an extensive feeling that does not go away on its own, unlike the former.

Q) How to treat burnouts forever?

A) If you're looking for steps that may help you out, the following are crucial, coupled with therapy:

  • Counseling either individual or in group
  • Avoiding stress and taking time off
  • Doing activities that you love
  • Seek help from friends and trusted contacts

Q) How do depression and burnout affect the brain?

A) Since they're both mental health disorders, they affect the brain heavily. Normal activities and natural function of the brain are somewhat troubled and therefore altered. The brain of a depressed person also differs from someone who does not struggle with depression. Brain scans show that the neurons and neurotransmitters are different and function differently.

Q) Are there medications for depression and burnout?

A) No specific medication can totally cure these conditions. However, as previously mentioned, antidepressants and antianxiety medicines can help with the effects of depression. An injection for burnout was recently approved by the FDA as well.