5 Ways Being Autistic is Exhausting

5 Ways Being Autistic is Exhausting

The term "autistic burnout" refers to a syndrome that can occur when support for autism is lacking, and there is a mismatch between expectations and a person's actual skills.

As a result of the strain and exhaustion of constantly adjusting to the environment as an autistic person, burnout can occur.

Autism fatigue and burnout have been described in numerous ways by autistic persons.

Frequently, they described autistic burnout as exhaustion accompanied by additional challenges.

People on the autism spectrum frequently discuss autistic burnout as a cause of chronic stress and exhaustion.

The pressure placed on autistic people to hide their condition and pass for neurotypical can be overwhelming.

Also, autistic people are frequently exposed to sensory overloads, with the expectation that they will continue functioning despite the difficulty of doing so.

It is very common for neurodivergent teens and adults to adopt "masking" as a way to blend in.

However, the result of continued practice of masking without giving yourself time to recharge is another way being autistic is exhausting.

Read on to learn more about ways being autistic is exhausting. 

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Leigh Harlan, LPC

Leigh Harlan, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Tracey Lundy, LCSW

Tracey Lundy, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Hailey Gloden, MA, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

(720) 449-4121
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Megan Brausam, LPC

Megan Brausam, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

(719) 345-2424

Chronic Stress and Exhaustion 

Living with autism is not an easy life to live.

One of the ways being autistic is exhausting is because of the possibility of experiencing chronic stress and exhaustion.

This is often a result of trying to cope with social and sensory experiences and being misunderstood and criticized.

Also, factors like having high levels of anxiety and, for a variety of reasons, not feeling in touch with or being able to be one's authentic self.

In addition to this, a person may have expectations of themselves that are higher than their coping techniques and abilities.

The accumulation of subsequent stress over time can lead to autistic burnout.

This condition is characterized by increasing social disengagement, which is a sort of "hibernation," and it affects executive functioning.

Loss of Skills 

Burnout in the autistic community has far-reaching consequences.

Another way being autistic is exhausting is the effect burnout can have on

While an autistic person is experiencing burnout, they may find it harder to perform numerous tasks that they could previously do.

Autistic burnout can lead to loss of speech, loss of executive function skills, and difficulty with self-care (showering, personal hygiene).

They may lose the ability to regulate emotions., become dependent on others for daily needs, and have trouble remembering recent events.

This hinders their efficiency in the workplace, the classroom, and the household.

When individuals with autism experience burnout, their loved ones, and healthcare providers may start to question their ability to care for themselves.

In this case, they may even propose that they move back in with their families, who can care for them during the burnout period. 

Difficulty With Masking 

Teenagers and adults who have neurodivergent personalities frequently hide their autism in order to save themselves from the hurt of rejection and judgment.

Autistic persons use masking to imitate neurotypical behavior by prepping for small talk, forcing themselves to make eye contact, and suppressing repetitive habits.

This quickly depletes their social battery because they are continually worrying about a lot of things.

They are worried about past social interactions, upcoming social encounters, and the adequacy of their mask to conceal their autistic features.

These tactics can benefit autistic individuals in their careers and relationships, but they involve a tremendous amount of effort.

They put so much effort into trying to blend in and be liked that by the end of the day, they are completely exhausted.

After putting in the effort to hide their autism, they'll need some downtime to recharge.

They'll find that their mask starts to crumble, and their social battery dies if they aren't given time to recharge it after being in character for so long.

The risk of having a meltdown characteristic of autistic burnout increases under these conditions.

Autism Meltdowns

Autism meltdowns are incredibly unpleasant and upsetting for the person experiencing them.

Autism meltdowns caused by burnout can potentially develop into much larger and more serious issues, such as autistic regression if they are ignored.

When regressive autism occurs, the person may appear to develop normally at first, but then they experience a dramatic decline in their communication and social abilities.

Regressive autism is also known as autistic regression, autistic disorder, setback autism, and acquired autism.

Signs of an autism meltdown vary from person to person.

Typically they involve the following: shutting down, anxiety, irritability, hyperventilating, screaming or yelling, aggression, going mute, and no eye contact.

Having such a significant reaction can cause them to withdraw entirely. It's as though your mind simply stops functioning.

This exhaustion might linger for weeks or even months, which is really unfortunate. 

Sensory Sensitivities 

In fact, sensory difficulties are considered a diagnostic need for autism spectrum disorder.

Individuals on the autism spectrum may experience extreme sensitivity to or insensitivity to certain stimuli.

As a result, they are either over or under-sensitive to their surroundings.

Some autistic people may have many sensory sensitivities, though this is not always the case.

When autistic people are feeling anxious or disturbed, their sensitivity to sensory input may increase.

Having heightened sensitivities can sometimes cause a person to feel overwhelmed with worry and tension.

Individuals with heightened sensitivities to particular stimuli may experience difficulties in a variety of social, academic, occupational, and community settings.

People with autism might have sensitivities to: sounds, sights, tastes, smells, touch, and balance.

Autistic burnout contributes to sensory sensitivity, which can lead to an overload.


Burnout is a common symptom of autism and occurs in response to high levels of stress.

It's a sign that you need some time off, fewer duties (at least for the time being), and a chance to talk openly with loved ones about how you're feeling.

Autism and fatigue are now receiving attention in mainstream discussions, and it is causing more people to realize the importance of support for autism.

Five ways being autistic is exhausting include; chronic stress and exhaustion, loss of skills, difficulty masking or loss of social skills, increased meltdowns, and sensory sensitivity.


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July 14th, 2024

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