Taking care of your health is important no matter what you do for a living. But when it comes to AOD work it’s all the more important. Working in the AOD sector can be very rewarding but the passion and dedication that drives many who work in AOD sector can potentially lead to stress, burnout and even ‘compassion fatigue’ if not accompanied by solid self-care strategies.
The term vicarious trauma (Perlman & Saakvitne, 1995), sometimes also called compassion fatigue, is the latest term that describes the phenomenon generally associated with the “cost of caring” for others (Figley, 1982). Other terms used for compassion fatigue are:
secondary traumatic stress (Stemm, 1995, 1997)
secondary victimization (Figley, 1982)
This booklet identifies common workplace stressors for addiction professionals and offers evidence-based, practical strategies and resources to promote healthy lifestyles and productive professional lives.
The principles of self-care are the same as for recovery, as exemplified by recovery-oriented systems of care.
These principles promote a person-centred, strengths-based approach that helps people marshal the individual, social, and environmental factors that support their well-being.
In this webinar, David Mee-Lee, MD and Dr. Deborah Teplow discussed the skills required to make lasting change.
High levels of stress can result in feelings of helplessness, disillusionment, and exhaustion.
Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
The impact of burnout can be widespread, affecting your physical and mental wellbeing and your overall ability to function in daily life.
It is vital we practice self-care in order to protect our physical and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, we fail to practice self-care, leading to fatigue, stress and ill-health.
We are seeing a global rise in long-term noncommunicable diseases, linked with our inability to protect our own wellbeing.
The World Health Organization defines self-care as:
"the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote, maintain health, prevent disease and to cope with illness with or without the support of a health care provider."