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Glossary of Terms

Compassion Fatigue

For Experts

  • Currently not a diagnosis in the DSM or ICD.
  • mental health condition describing adverse psychological reactions in persons providing care to others, which is related to the stress experienced from caring, empathizing, and both the physical and psychiatric investments made when helping people who are suffering.
  • Compassion fatigue can include a sense of helplessness, confusion, and a loss of compassion or empathy toward those one is treating or helping, as well as feelings of isolation from colleagues and usual social supports.
  • Compassion fatigue can occur as a result of singular exposure or an accumulation of exposures to trauma.
  • Sometimes associated with vicarious stress or vicarious trauma, but considered distinct from Burnout.

For General Public

  • Currently not a diagnosis in the DSM or ICD.
  • A type of mental health condition that can occur in caregivers.
  • Related to the stress of caring about other people who are in distress or who are suffering.
  • Creates a sense of helplessness, confusion, or a loss of compassion and empathy for others, and feelings of being isolated from colleagues and other people.

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