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Compassion fatigue is a term that describes the physical, emotional, and psychological impact of helping or taking care

of others — often through experiences of stress or trauma.  It is most common among professionals who work in a healing or helping capacity.  If you are a legal professional, medical professional, veterinarian, therapist, first responder, nurse, or service provider of any kind, you may be more at risk for compassion fatigue. 


Mood Swings

  • Drastic shifts in mood

  • Becoming pessimistic (thinking negative thoughts) or cynical

  • Becoming overly irritable or quick to anger 


Experiencing Detachment

A common sign of compassion fatigue is a dramatic withdrawal from social connections. This can become obvious in neglected friendships or relationships. You may feel emotionally disconnected from others or experience a sense of numbness in your personal or professional life.


Compassion fatigue has been linked with secretive self-medication or addiction. Overuse can occur in alcoholism, gambling addiction, drug addictions, or even workaholism. 

 Anxiety or Depression

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

Compassion fatigue can leave you feeling anxious about the world around you — either viewing the world as dangerous or being extra cautious about personal and family safety. It can also leave you feeling depressed. You may feel demoralized or question your effectiveness as a professional. 

Trouble Being Productive

Studies show that stress associated with compassion fatigue can affect your mind and body. You may experience trouble concentrating or being productive in your personal or professional life. 

Long-term stress can affect your memory and lead to difficulty concentrating on your work. 


One sign of compassion fatigue is suffering from disturbing images that may disrupt your thoughts or dreams. This may lead to insomnia and exhaustion. 

Physical Symptoms

Compassion fatigue can lead to a host of bodily symptoms. These include:

How Can Therapy Help?


The treatment for Compassion Fatigue is very effective, and consists of a combination of Self Care Strategies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Existential Therapy, and Mindfulness Techniques.

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