July 2020

Compassion Fatigue: Recognizing Symptoms and Prevention

What is Compassion Fatigue:

    Compassion Fatigue is the physical and emotional toll that caregiving can take on family members and workers caring for those in poor health. It can have negative impacts on the caregiver and those that they care for. There are emotional, cognitive and physical symptoms that caregivers should look out for to try to prevent or resolve Compassion Fatigue. 

How to Recognize Compassion Fatigue:

    Emotional symptoms can include, changes in mood, feeling numb, reduced empathy, or reduced tolerance to stress. Caregivers can become desensitized to those around them and more irritable. Caregivers may become less efficient or withdrawn. Physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty sleeping also may present in caregivers with Compassion Fatigue.

Prevention and Recovery:

     There are some ways to prevent or recover from Compassion Fatigue. Self care is crucial. You can’t do a good job helping others, if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Set boundaries, make time for yourself, find healthy coping mechanisms such as exercise or meditation, talk to someone, get enough sleep, and take some time off when needed. It is important to allow yourself time to recharge. Caregivers often have trouble asking for help for themselves, which is why it is important to recognize the signs early to take action.