Substance Abuse and Caregivers

In the United States alone there are an estimated 44 Million people that are serving as a caregiver. Often these caregivers are taking care of their immediate family members, extended family, or a friend. They might also be employed as a caregiver. Unfortunately, this job is difficult no matter who the patient is. It can often lead a caregiver to substance abuse issues. Caregiving is a task that is not always easy. If we were to give a job description for a caregiver we would need to include various things:

Caregiving is a task that is not always easy. If we were to give a job description for a caregiver we would need to include various things:

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Toileting assistance
  • All personal care needs
  • Conversation
  • Stabilization while walking place to place
  • Housekeeping
  • Running errands

Many times this is all done without any financial compensation. A caregiver must have qualities such as empathy patience, and most of all reliability. A caregiver provides all means of help to someone who has an illness or a disability and cannot care for themselves.

Caregiving is reported to have higher numbers of those suffering from depression. Estimates show this number to be anywhere from 25% to 50% have signs of major depression. 40-70% show significant symptoms of depression. They're also high risk for chronic diseases and anxiety issues.

Unfortunately, caregivers have a much greater risk of having substance abuse. They're constantly at high stress levels, caring for others, and making sure their patient's get what they need. It can be overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Even more, as their patient's health deteriorates the emotional and psychological stress increases. Often if the patient must be transferred to a facility these feelings can linger with the caregiver.

It is true that caregiving is a much needed and vital resource. It is estimated to be a 306-billion-dollar resource per year. Many times it is the case that caregivers are not properly prepared to take on this caregiving role. There is rarely any kind of third-party support. This lack of support and the strain of caregiving will cause serious problems with a caregiver’s health.

The demands of caring for a patient causes mental, physical, and emotional issues that a caregiver may be reluctant to admit. Physically one may experience high blood pressure, heart disease, headaches, obesity, and body pain. The stress can also lead to increased mortality. The added stressors also lead to cognitive decline, deficits in attention, decreased verbal and memory ability. Older caregivers aged 66-96 will show a 63% higher mortality rate as compared to non-caregivers of the same age.

Because caregiving is a difficult and overwhelming job, substance abuse can become a way to get away from it all. It starts innocently with maybe a drink or two in the evening. Then, it might turn into several drinks or more throughout the day.

What all of this means is that caregivers need to be cared for and take care of themselves, as well. Getting away for a much-needed break, eating properly, getting some exercise is a good start. Another is to seek out therapy that can help in coping with stress. Therapy helps in many ways. One can cope with their feelings about the patient’s illness. Having someone who is removed from the situation to talk to can help with insight and perspective. Once caregivers turn to therapy to help cope rather than using drugs or alcohol, life will become healthier and happy again.  Substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC can help those suffering deal with addiction, emotions and mixed feelings that caregivers are faced with.

Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Charlotte NC

If you’re suffering from an addiction and looking for substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC, contact Legacy Freedom. Addiction isn’t something that can be easily beaten.  Often, it requires extensive rehab and support.

Those that choose to enter recovery have a lifelong challenge. Years after being drug or alcohol-free, some people find that they still crave certain substances. During treatment, addicts will learn to cope with emotions, cravings and more. They’ll learn the connection of all psychological, physical and emotional aspects of addiction. They’ll also learn to break habits and form new ones. All it takes is support and commitment.


Legacy Freedom is here to offer both to you when you’re ready. Addiction can leave you feeling sad, lonely, and angry. You are not alone. Legacy Freedom is here to help you get back on track to a happier, healthy, drug-free life.

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