Compassion Fatigue in Caregivers

Posted on October 19, 2012

What is Compassion Fatigue?

Compassion fatigue is a stress response that may occur in caregivers with prolonged exposure to the suffering of loved ones.  Compassion fatigue is a consequence of the chronic stress involved in caring for loved ones and witnessing their pain and suffering.

Signs of Compassion Fatigue

While specific signs of compassion fatigue vary among caregivers according to personality characteristics and coping style, some common signs include: hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, emotional disengagement, and apathy.

Consequences of Compassion Fatigue

Caregivers with compassion fatigue may suffer depression, insomnia, eating problems, caregiver strain, and decreased relationship quality with their ill loved ones.

Techniques to Reduce Compassion Fatigue

When you’re caring for an ill loved one, your own self-care becomes a necessity in order to maintain the personal stamina and energy necessary for caregiving. Here are some self-care techniques that can help:

Resources:

http://www.caring.com/blogs/caring-currents/compassion-fatigue

Arizona State University Virtual Counseling Center   http://vcc.asu.edu/index.shtml

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22