Understanding Burnout in Adults with Autism

Periods of burnout are something that will affect most of us throughout our lives, whereby our emotional, cognitive and physical abilities are depleted by periods of prolonged and/or intense stress. However, adults with autism often experience burnout at an intensified level.

Autism and burnout

Numerous autistic traits can contribute to and even exacerbate burnout. As a result, burnout can exacerbate autistic traits, making them impossible to manage without support.

For example, as burnout starts to set in, adults with autism may struggle to care for themselves properly, find it impossible to speak, or experience memory problems. Each of these issues can prevent a person from performing well in educational, workplace and home settings.

Many autistic people who have experienced burnout explain it as coming to a point when they simply have nothing left to give. They cannot fulfil external expectations and, in many cases, they don’t have the energy to get out of bed.

Unfortunately, this is something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to either adult with autism in Buckinghamshire or support workers. After all, there are a host of everyday stressors that can contribute to burnout. Many adults with autism are forced to conceal their autistic traits and fulfil expectations that they should cope with life in the same ways as their neurotypical peers. Additionally, feelings of anxiety are common amongst adults with autism for several reasons, including an enhanced sensitivity to sensory input.

Supporting adults with autism in Buckinghamshire

While neurodivergent communities have long recognized the existence of autistic burnout, research is currently lacking in the area. Crucially, however, there is research to support the fact that adults with autism often find it harder to keep their heads above water in a variety of ways that are akin to what is widely accepted as burnout. So, there is advice out there for both autistic adults and those in a position to offer support.

Burnout can take its toll on a person’s sense of independence, as every ounce of energy can be channelled towards one particular task, leaving no additional energy for preparing healthy meals, keeping up with everyday household chores, or maintaining valuable relationships with family and friends. When adults with autism in Buckinghamshire receive the correct support to ensure that every aspect of their lives is in order, they are more likely to recover from periods of burnout than those who have not received this support.

Another critical component of emerging from burnout is rest. Neurological differences mean that adults with autism can find it much more difficult to sleep. Encouraging good sleep practices is critical, including ensuring sleeping spaces are comfortable with nothing that will heighten sensory responses.

Connecting with other people is also an effective remedy to ease feelings of burnout. This is something that can be difficult for adults with autism, however, particularly those who struggle with social cues. Social media can be a particularly useful tool here, as people can form connections on their terms, whenever they’re ready.