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Compassion Fatigue Symptoms and Treatment

Compassion Fatigue Symptoms and Treatment

Compassion fatigue is a syndrome that affects an individual, who gets attached to other person's suffering and misery. The following Buzzle article talks more about the symptoms and treatment for the same.
Saptakee Sengupta
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Compassion fatigue is a psychological disorder associated with gradual lessening of compassion over time. The medical terminology for this syndrome is Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms were first diagnosed in nurses in the year 1950 and related incidents made scientists and doctors conduct research on this disorder in order to find out a possible way to get over it.

Sometimes caregivers offer so much affection and compassion that they tend to forget practicing self care. The outcome is self induced apathy and destructive behavior on surface. This can lead to terrible suffering, pain, and mental trauma. The traumatic condition generally affects people who are involved in serving people selflessly. It could be a mother endowing selfless love on her children, a wife obsessed with her husband or vice versa, a nurse serving her patients or a social worker helping the downtrodden unconditionally. Physicians, clergymen, and mental health workers are also victims of compassion fatigue. In this process, they become oblivious of the fact, that, eventually they might become a victim of this psychological disorder.


The empathetic connection with people undergoing trauma, stress, and prolonged illness gives rise to certain symptoms associated with this emotional disorder. A strange hopelessness and a sense of dejection pervades people who are diagnosed with this syndrome. The most observed symptoms are:
  • Lack of interest in things enjoyed previously.
  • Persistent images and thoughts about people being connected with, for so long.
  • Emotional numbing of senses.
  • Sudden withdrawal from friends and family members.
  • Constant nightmares, insomnia, and intermittent wake-ups between sleep.
  • Irritation with little provocation and outbursts of anger.
  • Working too hard for self good.
  • A sense of disillusionment, worthlessness, hopelessness, and resentment with work.
  • Lack of self-confidence and optimism in life.
  • Full of negative energy and the fear of being unsuccessful in life.
  • Feeling physically run down, overstressed, lack of energy, depression, and mental fatigue.

To combat such a type of fatigue, self transformation is more essential than external medication. It's mostly associated with changing your attitude towards life. Cultivation of positive energy and dealing with circumstances, rationally, helps to overcome the traumatic conditions. The probable methods of treatment are mentioned below.

Self Assessment
Scrutinize your life. Observe things that cause stress and notice your reaction in that particular situation. Furthermore, try to avoid such reactions, the next time you encounter similar situations. Acknowledging things and coping with chronic depression becomes difficult if you have a history of trauma. Therefore, increase your consciousness while dealing with circumstances that trigger personal pain.

Self Expression
Bottled up emotions elevate personal pain and suffering. Suppressed feelings can cause problems in relationships. Share your experiences on the events you witnessed and discuss your feelings with your near ones. This makes emotions volatile and helps you to forget the grave situation. Be composed while expressing yourself and do not lose control over your feelings while describing any particular traumatic incident.

Be Optimistic
Negative energy, lack of self-confidence, and constant low emotional state, are the main reasons that enhance stressful conditions of severe fatigue. Inculcating positive personal qualities is a way to get rid of this fatigue. Commitment and control over emotions help to overcome passivity towards life. The most important thing is, accepting a tough situation as a challenge and then finding out a solution to it. This way you can deal with the difficulties in life, with some ease.

Be Strong and Resilient
Possessing mental strength is a vital factor when it comes to treatment. Just focus your energy on your resiliency and determination power. Do not get attached with anything too emotionally. Be practical and strong if you are dealing with the sufferings of people. Cultivate the spirit of being amazingly durable even in worst circumstances.

Compassion fatigue is all about visualizing life with an eye of grievous empathy. People who have a tendency to ingrain sorrows, should limit their exposure to such situations. Try to engage yourself in enjoyable activities if emotions of others get embedded in your psyche very soon. Last but not the least, re-evaluate your life and view life from a different angle, devoid of pain and anguish.