• Bottled up emotions - emotional outbursts
  • Rescues the needy
  • Isolation
  • Sadness
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Jumpy, startles easily
  • Complains often to coworkers and management
  • Lack of self care
  • Recurring nightmares and/or flashbacks
  • Persistent ailments
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Accident prone

Compassion fatigue (CF) is not a disease.

CF is a normal consequence of working in a caring and helping profession that deals with traumatized patients and clients. 

  • Secondary traumatization
  • Secondary victimization
  • Soul pain
  • Vicarious trauma
  • Wounded healer
  • Vicarious traumatization

Secondary traumatic stress - sometimes distinguished as trauma associated with directly working on traumatized, sick, and dying patients.

 Symptoms and Signs of CF*

For our purposes we will consider CF to be a comprehensive term encompassing the concepts of secondary trauma, secondary traumatic stress, vicarious traumatization, and adding the components of cumulative stress, intrusion, avoidance, and hypervigilance. ​

  • Borrowed stress
  • Compulsive sensitivity
  • Disabled resiliency
  • Emotional contagion
  • Empathic distress
  • Empathic strain
  • Empathy fatigue
  • Empathy overload
  • Existential suffering
  • Fatal availability
  • Indirect trauma

Compassion fatigue – CF – Descriptors and synonyms*