Especially common in healthcare providers, the "cost of caring" can wreak havoc on providers' work ethic and personal happiness. These 8 symptoms are among the most common--and most severe--sensations people suffering from compassion fatigue may experience.
- Chronic Exhaustion: This symptom can manifest in both physical and emotional forms. No matter how much rest or sleep a person gets, if they're experiencing compassion fatigue, they will still feel exhausted.
- Reduced Sympathy/Empathy: This symptom has a large impact on a provider's ability to relate and empathize with their patients. This in turn may result in a sharp decrease in the level of care they're able to offer patients.
- Feelings of Anger: Due to a combination of long work hours and a lack of sleep, compassion fatigue victims may experience a low simmer of constant anger, despite a lack of any "usual" cause.
- Dreading Work: The job a provider once loved may now feel like a drain on their emotional and physical well-being, making getting out of bed in the morning an arduous task.
- Poor Job Satisfaction: Compassion fatigue may make it difficult to truly any aspect of the job, even things that seemed routine and rewarding in the past.
- Hypersensitivity: Minute, every-day comments may be enough to tip a provider over the edge if they're suffering from compassion fatigue. Constructive criticism and even compliments--no matter how well meant--can feel harsh and unwelcome.
- Poor Work-Life Balance: The sensation of being overworked and taxed for time can result in a poor work-life balance. Important aspects of self-care--like exercise, family time, and other hobbies--can become neglected due to compassion fatigue.
- Difficulty Sleeping: As would be expected, all of these stressors can make it difficult to sleep. In turn, a lack of good rest can exacerbate the sensations of hopelessness and overall dissatisfaction.
Are you or your coworkers at a higher risk of compassion fatigue? Find out more about which branches of the healthcare community are at a higher risk, and how you can combat compassion fatigue here.
For a more in-depth look, check out our whitepaper How to Cope With Compassion Fatigue.
Mental and physical health is just as important for providers as it is for the patients they treat. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to contact a mental health provider for help.