In psychiatry, burnout is a relevant phenomenon. A large number of individuals is feeling overburdened at work. In contrast to mental disorders, the term 'burnout' is not perceived as stigmatizing, making it therefore easier for afflicted persons to seek help. The term 'burnout syndrome' was mentioned 1974 for the first time in scientific literature. Today, there is a range of partially contradictory definitions and explanations for burnout and the burnout syndrome, respectively. In most studies, burnout is assessed by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which is neither useful for determining the degree of pathology nor for distinguishing burnout from mental disorders such as depression. It is expected that the burnout syndrome will not be used in modern diagnostic classification systems, because of its unclear definition and conceptual contradictions. On these grounds, it appears reasonable to define burnout as long-term professional overload and a noteworthy risk factor for physical diseases and mental disorders.