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What is the difference between Compassion Fatigue and Burnout?

While both compassion fatigue and burnout involve feelings of exhaustion and emotional strain, their underlying causes and focus differ.

Compassion fatigue primarily affects individuals who are directly involved in caring for others, such as healthcare professionals, social workers, counselors, or first responders. It is directly related to the emotional toll of witnessing or experiencing the suffering of others.

Symptoms of compassion fatigue often include

Emotional exhaustion

Decreased empathy

Sense of detachment from others.

Individuals may also experience physical symptoms such as



Gastrointestinal issues.

Burnout can affect individuals in any profession and is often related to work-related stressors, such as long hours, unrealistic expectations, or a lack of work-life balance. It can impact overall job performance and satisfaction.

Symptoms of Burnout include

Emotional exhaustion


Detachment from work

Reduced sense of accomplishment.

Physical symptoms can include



Frequent illnesses

Ultimately, understanding and addressing the underlying causes of compassion fatigue and burnout is crucial for promoting a healthy and sustainable work-life balance. By recognizing the warning signs and taking proactive steps to prevent and manage these conditions, individuals can continue to provide quality care to those in need while also prioritizing their own mental and emotional well-being.

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