For those that are in professions that are exposed to other people’s traumas, compassion fatigue or secondary or vicarious trauma can occur. These acute symptoms experienced by a professional can put their mental and physical health at risk, ultimately impacting their level of care. Empathy is an essential part to those working in occupations such as healthcare, military, and journalists on the front lines of war and disaster. For those working in these jobs, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others is supportive to the victims, however the ability to cope with secondary trauma can lead to total exhaustion for the professional.
It’s from this total exhaustion of caring for others, that someone who is experiencing compassion fatigue often neglects their own self care. Therefore, symptoms of compassion fatigue include; exhaustion, disrupted sleep, anxiety, headaches, stomach upset, irritability, numbness, a decreased sense of purpose, emotional disconnection, self-contempt and difficulties with personal relationships.
Check out our next post for information about treating and preventing compassion fatigue.
If you or someone you know is experiencing compassion fatigue right now, feel free to reach out to Safe and Sound Therapeutics for support.