12 stages of burn-out


12 stages of burn-out. In an earlier post on burn-out (“The Route to Burn-out“) Serge Haubourdin refers to the 12 phases outlined by psychologists Herbert Freudenberger and Gail North in 1992. The 12 phases are more relevant than ever and are still a good indicator.

Are you in doubt and do you think you might be burnt out, have a look at these stages. The 12 stages of burn-out are not necessarily in the specific order and not every step occurs for every individual. Some phases are experienced at the same time.


More in detail:

  1. Compulsion to prove oneself, excessive ambition
  2. Working harder, taking on more work to realize ambition
  3. Neglecting personal needs, the self disappears for the company
  4. Displacement of conflicts, can’t see roots of problems, physical symptoms begin
  5. Revision of values, changed perceptions, emotions become blunted
  6. Denial of emerging problems, problems are caused be everything other than them
  7. Withdrawal, loss of hope or direction, seek release through alcohol and drugs
  8. Obvious behavioral changes, usually fearful, shy and apathetic, increasing feeling of worthlessness
  9. De-personalization, detached from the world and then divorced from themselves
  10. Inner Emptiness, leisure time becomes dead life time,
  11. Depression, indifferent, hopeless, apathetic, life loses meaning
  12. Burnout syndrome, suicidal thoughts become the release mechanism

When we push our productivity to its limits, we can easily find ourselves very close to burn-out. And there’s a thin line between being in the zone and falling down the slippery slope of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion. Therefore it’s worth occasionally referring back to this list to self-diagnose.

If you do find yourself in a burn-out, then it’s important to realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The holistic approach of Hercules Academy offers a way out and works on every aspect of your life. Contact us on and we will help you.