When a person experiences persistent stress and dealing with seemingly unresolvable problems over a period of time, they may experience the physical and emotional exhaustion, together with increased cynicism and negative self-evaluation that characterises burnout.  Typically, symptoms of burnout include fatigue, poor sleep or insomnia, reduced appetite, poor concentration and/or forgetfulness, anxiety, anger, and increased susceptibility to illness.

Burnout is often a result of work stress but can occur outside of the workplace as a result of prolonged stresses in other areas of life.