How Caregiving Affects the Caregiver’s Mental Health

Whether you are caring for an aging parent, a child with a disability, or a sick relative being a caregiver can be exhausting. The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) reports that caregivers have higher levels of depression than other family members who do not help with the care of a loved one. In fact, 40 to 70 percent show significant depressive symptoms while 25 to 50 percent meet the criteria for major depression. Being a caregiver also puts these people at a higher risk for other mental health concerns. These risks increase the longer they care for their loved one. If you're in need of mental health facilities in Columbus, OH, call Legacy Freedom for help.

An estimated 26 percent of caregivers admit to feeling emotionally drained. Providing care is not only emotionally taxing, it is mentally and physically draining as well. Here are the other ways that caregiving affects the caregiver's mental health:

  • Anxiety Issues - From constantly worrying about giving medication, making it to appointments, helping with transfers from wheelchairs and more the list of things that caregivers worry about goes on and on. As a result of this constant stream of worry, caregivers are more likely to develop anxiety than those family members who are only involved with care occasionally or not at all.
  • Guilt - Many caregivers feel extreme guilt when they are not with their family member or loved one and are doing something for themselves. Caregivers should be encouraged to take breaks and to tend to their own needs regularly.
  • Substance Abuse - Due to the extreme pressures and often the severity of the illness that requires constant caregiver attention, many caregivers develop substance abuse problems as a way to cope with the anxiety, depression, or guilt that they feel.
  • High Levels of Stress - A recent study found that caregiving has all the hallmarks of a chronic stress experience. This includes constant exposure to a highly uncontrollable and unpredictable environment that requires constant vigilance and physical and psychological strain. Chronic caregiver stress has been shown to result in significant declines in verbal ability, memory, attention, and cognitive decline.

As the person continues to decline, the amount of psychological and emotional distress that the caregiver feels will increase. Sometimes these feelings become even more persistent after the person has been placed in hospice care, a nursing home, or has passed away. The highly stressful nature of caregiving requires that the caregiver take care of themselves as well. Caregivers are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and headaches. It is crucial that caregivers find time to take care of themselves as well. Ways for caregivers to get the support they need include:

  • Ask for emotional support. Turn to family, friends, or clergy to have someone to share your feelings with. Just talking about your worries, struggles, or fears can ease your burden.
  • Find a respite care service. Many resources exist that are designed to give caregivers a break for a few hours or a few days. Finding a trusted respite service can help ease the stress and anxiety caregivers feel.
  • Get the help you need. Caregiver burnout is a real occurrence. Ask friends and family members to pitch in. People don't offer to help just to be nice. They offer because they want to make your life easier.
Mental Health Facilities in Columbus, OH You Can Trust

Our holistic approach to mental health care helps you identify the underlying cause of your anxiety and learn new ways to cope and manage your stress. Breaking the stress/anxiety cycle is crucial to taking away the power your anxiety has over you and putting you in control.

Using traditional talk therapy and alternative therapies, Legacy Freedom has helped hundreds of clients overcome their anxiety and given them the freedom to be themselves again. Call or click to connect with one of the best mental health facilities in Columbus, OH!

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