Student burnout

The most common cause of burnout or being overworked is a too high workload. However, nowadays there are more and more students with burnout. Social pressure, a too heavy or busy study and technological developments are putting more and more pressure on the shoulders of this group. Here you will find more information about what burnout is and what the possible treatments are.


Students are feeling better and better physically. This is mostly thanks to the fact that students smoke less, exercise more and eat healthier. Mentally, however, students have more problems with the handling of emotions and social and study pressure. The National Student Union confirms this. Half of the students face mental health problems and burnouts are not uncommon, according to this interest organisation.


Mental problems due to anxiety and stress-related issues are more common among female students. However, there are certain character traits, that generally lead to burnout faster, as well. These character traits are described below:

  • The perfectionist can not accept mistakes and may stress out quickly when something is not perfect. Often has problems with saying no as well
  • The overthinker is too busy with disaster scenarios
  • The workaholic reserves too little time to relax and loses himself in his work or study

Everyone experiences stress or tensions sometimes of course, but some people are more inclined to ask too much of their body and mind for a long time.


Described simply, burnout gives you the feeling that you are completely exhausted, and you can’t simply recharge. You often suffer from the following symptoms:

  • You have depressive feelings: you see many things as useless, have little faith in yourself or are very anxious.
  • You are constantly very tired and sleep badly
  • You create a distance between you and your environment, such as your study, friends or family
  • You get annoyed by things quickly and you can’t concentrate well

In general, you are feeling restless and gloomy and you are not looking forward to upcoming obligations. Physical complaints, such as dizziness and headaches, can also occur.

Preventing a burnout

A burnout can not always be prevented. A burnout often develops unconsciously and goes from bad to worse. However, when you feel a lot of stress or fatigue, the following tips can help you to prevent worse:

  • Live calmer. Try to free up time for things you want to do instead of for things you think you should do for your social environment
  • Only make realistic (study) schedules. This helps you to not go from disappointment to disappointment
  • Live as much as possible according to a fixed pattern in terms of sleeping, eating, studying and exercising
  • Try to understand what you want in life and make decisions based on this feeling

Guard your own limits! If you feel that you are losing yourself in your study and/or social life, it is important to seek help. You are often stuck in a vicious circle.

What can you do?

It is wise to take the following steps if you feel that everything is just too much for you:

  • Empty your agenda and give yourself time.
  • Talk about your feelings with a friend, psychologist or confidant.

It will not help you in any way if you keep your feelings for yourself and try to maintain the lifestyle that you are currently having. You will have to adjust these things if you want to solve the problem.

General practitioner

You can also go to the doctor if you are having psychological complaints. During the first 6 months, the general practitioner (or a GGZ practice assistant) will take care of your burnout problems, after that you will be referred to an expert. The general practitioner will give advice based on your complaints. If the complaints are long-term and serious enough, you can be sent to a psychiatrist, psychologist or a special burnout coach. There are also online burnout treatments that you can take part in.

When you are sent to an expert you should check what diagnosis you receive: this determines the possible reimbursement of the treatment from your health insurance. Your general practitioner and health insurer will be able to tell you more about this.

Costs of therapy

Treatments by a psychologist or psychiatrist are reimbursed by basic health insurance. However, since 2012 therapy for burnout has been part of adjustment disorders. An adjustment disorder is a mental illness due to (emotional) stress. Adaptive disorders are excluded under the Health Insurance Act (Zvw). You, therefore, receive no reimbursement from the basic health for the therapy of burnout. If the complaints are very serious and persistent, you can be eligible for reimbursement. Necessary for this is, as mentioned before, the referral from your general practitioner. The diagnosis by the psychologist can also lead to a different treatment method that may qualify for reimbursement.

Alternative treatment

Some people with burnout benefit from haptotherapy. Haptonomy is about becoming one with your feelings. The treatment is alternative and is therefore not reimbursed from the basic package. The additional health insurance does provide you with a reimbursement for alternative treatments.  See the overview below for a handy example overview of the various reimbursements that various health insurers offer for haptotherapy. The packages usually offer reimbursements for other additional healthcare in addition to haptotherapy.

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