Although it is still rarely recognized by medical professionals, most do understand the concept of burnout and how it can affect a person's physical and mental health. But what about autistic burnout? Far fewer know autistic burnout exists or understand its impact on autistic individuals.
An Important Note
I am writing from my lived experience as an autistic adult who has experienced autistic burnout several times, those of other autistic individuals I know, and additional research conducted on the subject. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning while there are broad similarities, individuals experience it differently and require varying levels of support.
Additionally, I use identity-first language throughout because it is my preference. Others on the autism spectrum may prefer person-first language, and I mean no disrespect to those individuals.
What Is Autistic Burnout?
Work burnout and autistic burnout are similar on several points, but there is a significant difference in the specific causes and some symptoms. Both stem from chronic stress and result in physical and psychological symptoms. Left unresolved, both kinds of burnout can create serious health problems.
General burnout typically develops due to job-related stress. While the resulting symptoms can affect most or all of the individual's life, it centers around their work/life balance.