"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Compassion fatigue: symptoms to observe out for

If you’re employed in knowledgeable environment that deals with other people's traumas day-after-day – for instance, in a hospital, a psychologist's office, or a homeless shelter – chances are you’ll experience a state of maximum fatigue and despair . This is named compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue is a term that describes the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of helping others – often through experiences of stress or trauma. Compassion fatigue is usually confused with burnout, a cumulative feeling of tiredness or dissatisfaction.

While burnout is an element of this way of fatigue, the term “compassion fatigue” encompasses a more specific experience that may be brought on by a stressful job or environment, lack of resources, or excessive work hours.

This type of fatigue is typically known as secondary stress response, secondary shock, secondary traumatic stress, or vicarious trauma—largely as a result of compassion fatigue's association with careers and positions that may commonly put you in stressful situations.

Compassion fatigue affects a big selection of caregivers and professions. It is most typical amongst professionals who work in a healing or helping capability. If you might be a lawyer or doctor, therapistAs a primary responder, nurse, or service provider of any kind, chances are you’ll be at higher risk for compassion fatigue.

For example, therapists may experience compassion fatigue through their patients' experiences and stories. Some examples of common triggers (causes) of compassion fatigue include:

  • Providing therapy to familiarize you with extreme or serious problems
  • Being physically or verbally threatened while providing care
  • Facing suicide or threats of suicide from someone in your care
  • Providing care in hazardous environments
  • Caring for somebody affected by depression
  • Specializing in caring for people experiencing death, grief and loss (grief).
  • Experiencing or caring for somebody who has experienced the illness or death of a toddler
  • Care when there may be a high workload, excessive demands or long working hours
  • Providing a service that requires you to go to accident scenes, view graphic evidence, or take care of evidence or reports of trauma

Compassion fatigue occurs when these triggers and experiences begin to affect your thoughts, moods, and well-being outside of labor. Being interfered with by your work is a traditional a part of nursing jobs, but when the sensation becomes overwhelming, chances are you’ll experience compassion fatigue.

Although the symptoms may be frightening and sometimes debilitating, there are some steps you may take to heal. Recognizing the signs, taking proactive preventive measures, and searching for treatment can assist.

Compassion fatigue can affect your ability to do your job or perform on a regular basis activities, at the very least temporarily. There are signs that you simply or someone you realize or work with could also be developing compassion fatigue. Here are a few of the signs and symptoms to look out for:

Mood swings

Research shows that long-term stress can result in moderate to severe mood swings – especially as we age. Some of essentially the most common signs of compassion fatigue as a result of excessive stress include:

  • Drastic mood swings
  • Becoming pessimistic (considering negative thoughts) or cynical
  • Becoming overly irritable or easily offended

Experience distance

A standard sign of compassion fatigue is dramatic withdrawal from social relationships. This may be evident in neglected friendships or relationships. You may feel emotionally disconnected from others or experience a way of numbness in your personal or skilled life.


Compassion fatigue is related to secret self-medication or addiction. Excessive consumption can occur with alcoholism, gambling addiction, drug addiction and even workaholism.

Emotional symptoms of Fear or depression

Anxious or depressive feelings and actions are common reactions to stressful or traumatic situations.

Compassion fatigue may cause you to fret in regards to the world around you – either since you see the world as dangerous or because you might be particularly concerned about personal and family safety. It also can make you’re feeling depressed. You may feel demoralized or query your ability to perform at work.

Trouble being productive

Studies show that the stress related to compassion fatigue can have an effect on the mind and body. You could have difficulty concentrating or being productive in your personal or skilled life.

Long-term stress can affect your memory and cause difficulty concentrating at work.


An indication of compassion fatigue is affected by disturbing images which will disrupt your thoughts or dreams. This can result in insomnia and fatigue.

Physical symptoms

Compassion fatigue can result in quite a lot of physical symptoms. These include:

It is common for nurses and plenty of professionals to feel overwhelmed by their work. If you’re feeling like your compassion fatigue symptoms are interfering together with your life, contact your doctor. They may refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist who focuses on trauma. Your doctor may give you the option to treat your physical symptoms.

Proper treatment for compassion fatigue will depend on your individual experience. Common treatments include:


Emotional and physical fatigue is a standard element of compassion fatigue. For many, making time for self-care may be an efficient home cure. Self-care can include:

  • Take time to eat well
  • Stay hydrated
  • Get enough sleep
  • Stay active
  • Use meditation
  • Get a massage

Professional help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your work as a nurse, healthcare skilled or beyond, it will be important to hunt skilled help. You may give you the option to alleviate your feelings of stress, anxiety, and fatigue by talking to a therapist, psychiatrist, primary care physician, or knowledgeable who focuses on trauma.