Brain Teaser: Compassion fatigue vs. burnout

Do you know the differences?


We hear the term “compassion fatigue” often intermixed with “burnout.” See how well you can identify the difference between the two. Learning to identify what we are feeling and why could help those who are experiencing the signs and symptoms of either to get help more quickly.

Match the correct definition to the term:

1) Compassion fatigue is ________.

2) Burn out is ________.

a) a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to stay motivated to complete the tasks required.

b) a condition characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion leading to an inability to empathize for others. Often brought on by heavy stress load caused by caring for others who are suffering.

Signs of compassion fatigue are: (circle all that apply)

1) Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion

2) Irritability

3) Difficult sleeping

4) Headaches

5) Loss of connection or empathy toward others

6) Self-contempt

7) Feelings of inequity as a caregiver

Signs of burnout are: (circle all that apply)

1) Every day is a bad day

2) Tired and drained physically and emotionally

3) Loss of motivation

4) Decreased job satisfaction

5) Feelings of detachment, being trapped

6) Frequent illness; lower immunity

7) Taking frustrations out on others

Check your answers on page 2

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