Psychiatry has long recognized stress syndromes. The acute posttraumatic stress syndrome occurring in war is well known. Those occurring as a result of accidents in civilian life are less well known. Burnout is a recently described addition to this group of illnesses. The stress that is etiologic differs in many ways from that found in the acute syndromes. The stress that causes burnout is chronic, and is either self-imposed or inherent in a work situation. The illness responds to rest or removal from the work situation, but restructuring of the person's motivations and relationships is necessary if the person is to remain symptom free.