There are times when you might not know that you are already suffering from caregiver burnout. It is the state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that leads to a change in attitude. Instead of caring for a loved one, you might feel unconcerned about the patient’s welfare.
More often than not, caregiver burnout can happen when a person doesn’t get the help one needs, or if one tries to do more than what they are able to do, whether it is financially or physically. A caregiver who is burned out may suffer from stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue. The person might also feel guilty of spending them on oneself instead on an elderly or sick loved one.
Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
The symptoms of caregiver burnout are the same as depression and stress. These include:
- Withdrawing from family, friends, and other loved ones
- Feeling irritable, helpless, hopeless, and blue
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Want to hurt oneself or the person one is caring
- Excessive use of sleep medication and/or alcohol
- Physical and emotional exhaustion
- Become sick more often
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Loss of interest in activities
Causes of Caregiver Burnout
Caregivers are often busy caring for the patient that they ignore their own physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Taking care of another person can take a toll on a caregiver’s mind, emotions, and body. It can result to hopelessness and fatigue. Some of the causes of caregiver burnout include:
Confused about role– There are instances in which people are confused when they suddenly become a caregiver of a loved one. It is hard for the person to separate the role as a caregiver from that of a child, spouse, friend or lover.
Feeling of Inadequacy – Most caregivers are frustrated by the lack of resources, skills and money to develop a plan and sustain the care of a loved one. This can make a person burn out quickly.
Unachievable goals – More often than not, caregivers want to have a positive effect on the happiness and health of the patient. However, there are cases in which patients suffer from a progressive disease where their health will deteriorate over time no matter what the caregiver do.
Do You Have Caregiver Burnout?
This isn’t something that’s easily determined, and it is highly advisable that you ask yourself a few of the following questions:
- Are you feeling blue?
- Are you experiencing any significant alterations in your sleeping patterns?
- Maybe you are more irritable?
- Or maybe you are losing interest in the activities that you so much enjoyed?
- Are you getting sick more often than you used to?
- Are you feeling withdrawn from your social group?
- Are you exhausted physically or emotionally?
If you experienced at least two of these, the chances are that you might be experiencing the state known as caregiver burnout. This is a condition during which you will feel mental, emotional as well as physical exhaustion. The burnout can take place when the care provider doesn’t get the necessary help that he needs or when he is trying to go ahead and handle more than he can.
The Most Common Causes
There are a few different common causes when the caregiver starts to neglect their own health in every way. Some of the factors which are going to cause this particular condition include:
Lack of control: you get frustrated by the lack of skills as well as of resources to properly manage, plan as well as to organize the care that you are supposed to provide to your loved one.
Unreasonable Demand: This is also quite common. A lot of caregivers are going to place tremendously high and unreasonable burdens upon themselves just because they think that this is their only responsibility when it really shouldn’t be.
Unrealistic Expectations: A lot of people tend to believe that their involvement is going to have a tremendously positive effect on the happiness as well as on the health of the patient when this is just not the case or at least not always.
Confusion of Roles: Keep in mind that it’s not easy to separate your role as a caregiver from your principal role of an employee, spouse, friend, child or anything of the kind.