Compassion Fatigue Symptoms

While compassion fatigue differs from PTSD, it’s something that can develop if the symptoms are left untreated. Did you know first responders are twice as likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than the general population?

Both are usually the result of prolonged exposure to tragedies that first responders experience, but they’re both treatable. This page, however, is going to focus mainly on compassion fatigue.

So, what can you do if you’re experiencing compassion fatigue symptoms? What do those symptoms look like? Is there any way you can help coworkers if they’ve been displaying these symptoms?

Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Key Compassion Fatigue Symptoms

How can you know that you’re experiencing compassion fatigue, though? Here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling blame or guilt
  • General fatigue or exhaustion
  • Feeling detached or emotionally disconnected
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Flashbacks to events
  • Headaches
  • Excessive drinking or substance use

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point for anyone feeling burnt out.

Prevention Methods and Treatments

If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms, it’s important to get the help you need. If you’re just educating yourself, though, a bit of self-care can make for effective prevention. There are a few things you can do to get started.


Often, the best course of treatment is therapy or speaking with someone you trust. Reaching out to a therapist or even a support group can make a huge difference, and you’ll also leave with individualized treatment strategies.

Things you can do on your own, however, include eating healthier, exercising regularly, and developing hobbies that separate you from your work. You can do all or none of these things, but having a few activities that are your own is a great thing to take on.

It gives you a chance to separate from the trauma, which is important when you’re burnt out and experiencing compassion fatigue symptoms.


Care sometimes starts with prevention. When it comes to preventing compassion fatigue, there are plenty of options to choose from. If you can, taking vacations and reducing a stressful workload can be helpful, and so can taking advantage of resources to learn more about how you’re feeling.

It’s also a great idea to journal when you can and make time for positive reflection throughout the week. Meditation and gratitude journaling might sound cheesy, but they can make a difference — especially when you’re being exposed to different types of trauma.

Taking Care of Yourself is Taking Care of Others

When you work in a role that requires you to take care of others, it’s important to care for yourself first and foremost. If you’re burnt out and tired, then you’re less likely to be able to perform at your best. If you can’t perform at your best, then someone else could get hurt.

If you are experiencing compassion fatigue symptoms, remember you’re not alone, and treating your symptoms early is going to benefit those around you too. Luckily, therapy can help.

Get in touch to book an appointment today.

Contact Rethink Me

You can schedule a free consultation directly online or get in touch with us over the phone.