What Is Autism Burnout? Symptoms & Treatment

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Adults with autism face many challenges within their daily lives. One of the lesser known problems is known as autistic burnout. It’s a reality for many people who work, study, and live with neurotypical people daily. It’s a problem that should be addressed to help those with ASD work on various challenges related to their physical and psychological well-being. Read on to find out more about this condition and why it’s an issue that requires our attention.

What is Autism Burnout?

Autism burnout occurs when adults who do not typically thrive in a neurotypical world experience extreme exhaustion. This exhaustion can take forms that are physical, emotional, or mental. This condition occurs when autistic adults become overwhelmed and over-saturated with experiences related to the world around them. Our world wasn’t designed for autistic people, and coping daily with situations that flood the senses and overwhelm can take its toll.

This condition is common in adults who regularly work or study with other people or regularly work with the public. While this issue isn’t widely addressed, it’s something that others should educate themselves about, and autistic adults should work to find a way to recover from it or prevent it from happening altogether.

What People Experience During Autism Burnout

Each person who faces autism burnout has their own unique experiences; however, there are a few hallmark signs and symptoms that one experiences. One of the most common complaints is physical exhaustion. It can slowly set in for some, but that isn’t always the case. It can be a sudden experience when a person experiences events or conditions that are unusual in their day-to-day life.

That sudden change is difficult to deal with on a physical level and can leave the individual feeling chronically tired throughout the day. No amount of rest seems to alleviate the tiredness, and it can begin to create other effects such as emotional issues. The emotional issues can present themselves with or without physical exhaustion.

When these emotional issues develop, they can manifest as certain behaviors or actions. One of the most frequent is outbursts. These outbursts can range in severity and take a toll on the person affected. There are also issues with anger and even sadness. These symptoms require some insight to handle effectively, reduce their severity, and make them manageable for the individual. 

Another common condition reported in people with autism burnout is anxiety. This anxiety can prevent the person from participating in daily activities that overwhelm their senses. Over time these issues can cause chronic depression. In some instances, this depression left untreated can manifest into suicidal behaviors. 

Additionally, people who experience severe autism burnout can develop a more severe set of symptoms related to their autism. For instance, sensory overload can increase and eventually lead to a loss of skills. Verbal communication skills can decrease significantly, and reparative behaviors may also increase as a result.

What Are the Factors That Increase the Chances of Autism Burnout?

There are several things that can contribute to a case of autism burnout. For instance, sensory overstimulation is a common issue for autistic people. Over time, continuous exposure to overwhelming conditions can cause burnout to develop. Sudden changes to one’s environment or living conditions can trigger this response. 

Another example is when those who function day to day in the neurotypical world mimic what they see others do to fit in. They may repeat what they hear other people say in social situations, or they may make gestures that others perform or even facial expressions. This is referred to as masking. Autistic adults want to fit into the world around them like others, but this continued effort is not natural for them. 

This becomes highly stressful and leads to overstimulation. Having a busy workload or trying to perform too many chores or errands at one time can also lead to these conditions. Sometimes, people with autism need limited exposure to noises, changing environmental conditions, and too much social interaction. Each person needs to learn their limits in each instance and make efforts to limit exposures and create a sense of order and predictability. 

What Are the Complications Resulting From Autism Burnout?

People with autism burnout not only face dealing with their symptoms, which are overwhelming alone but face other implications as a result. They may avoid going to work, or they may experience a loss of work because they are unable to perform tasks and cope with daily situations.  

They may also suffer in school or avoid going to school altogether because attending means dealing with more sensory overload or social interactions. If they are physically and emotionally exhausted, it may be almost impossible for them to go about their daily tasks. Their health and overall quality of life may also begin to suffer as a result of autism burnout. The issues can continue to compound, and for some, lead to suicidal behaviors.

When the symptoms of autism burnout become severe, you can count on Zinnia Health to provide the caring support you need to recover and prevent future burnout.

How to Prevent and Treat Autism Burnout

There may be several factors to deal with when autistic burnout occurs. There are, however, ways to address these conditions and recover from them. With some practice and guidance from highly trained professionals, people who suffer from this condition can learn how to manage it and even prevent it from occurring in the future. 

If you are currently suffering from autism burnout or have in the past, there are some things to know in regard to recovery. One of the first ways to deal with the condition effectively is to remove your obligations. That means getting rid of activities, scheduled events, and social interactions that aren’t absolutely necessary. Whether it’s school, an extra job, or even going to do things with friends, you must eliminate as many of your obligations as you can. This allows you to re-center yourself and reduce the demands that cause stress and lead to burnout.

Another way to effectively recover is to add more rest to your routine. While it’s known that autism can sometimes make the process of sleeping more difficult, you can still rest without actually sleeping. An example of how to accomplish this is to set a time where you can lay in the bed and relax. Some may doze periodically, and others may sleep a little and then relax while reading, watching television, or meditating. 

One word of caution when resting in bed. It might be tempting to scroll through your social media accounts or read new articles, but this activity can lead to more stress. Even if you are alone and in your bed, using social media is overwhelming in many ways. It is social overstimulation and has tons of references to current events, viewpoints, and more. There are also videos, colors, flashing lights, and other stimuli to avoid. News is also stressful, so don’t watch the news or read news articles when you’re trying to recover from autism burnout. 

Another recovery technique critical to overcoming this issue is to engage in soothing activities. That means making time to do the things that you find relaxing. Instead of rushing around to get work done or fulfill social commitments as you usually would, you can do these activities that you might normally overlook or forego daily. Some examples of these activities can include the following. 

  • Art projects
  • Meditations
  • Nature hikes
  • Music
  • Yoga
  • Writing

Pick activities that you know you already love. That means you’ll have quality time doing things that help you unwind and forget about the things that are overwhelming you in your life. Try to make a point to do this frequently during the day. You can do a few of these activities to help ensure you devote enough time to unwinding and recovering in a healthy way.

You can also work to reduce sensory exposure and overload. This can be accomplished by removing too many sounds, lights, and noises. To do this, you can sit in a dimly lit or dark room. Make sure it’s comfortable and has items that are soft. Choose materials that are pleasing and enjoyable. You can include your favorite scents to help increase relaxation. Another way to make this compression experience more effective is to wear noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise that might interfere with the process.

Finally, you need to be patient with yourself while you recover. Not everyone’s experience is the same. Allow yourself to take the time you need to recover. Choose methods that work for you and provide you with the most relief from autism burnout. It’s also good to have compassion for yourself. If you have a loved one who is struggling with autism burnout, you should provide compassionate support and engage in additional research. Offer to be there for them when they need you, whether that means sitting in silence with them or providing them with options to take care of chores and basic needs so they can focus on themselves.

How to Get Help for Autism Burnout

Dealing with autistic burnout can become overwhelming for some people. In this case, they may need some additional professional support. Zinnia Health is a facility specializing in supporting those suffering from autism burnout. Our team of doctors and professional medical staff know how to address the symptoms and work with the individual to help them recover to get back to living their lives. 

Zinnia Health has techniques that provide comfort and facilitate the process of recovery with customized treatment for each person. We work closely with individuals to determine their needs and give them the tools and support they need to get the best result. Additionally, we can even help with providing ways to prevent autism burnout from happening in the future. 

Having the right resources and tools to live with autism and function in the neurotypical world is the best way for autistic adults to have a high quality of life. If you or someone you know is having a hard time dealing with this condition, it may be time to get some assistance from caring professionals who are ready to help. 

How Zinnia Health Provides Support for Autism Burnout

If you have issues with autism burnout or need somewhere to turn to get relevant information and suggestions to help ease those feelings, reach out to Zinnia Health today. Get the answers and support you need to improve your day-to-day challenges and have a better outcome for yourself. It’s possible to recover and prevent autism burnout, and now is the time to learn how and take steps to learn more.