Does Caregiving Cause Psychological Stress?
Yes, it does. Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding and heartwarming experience. However, being a caregiver to someone with dementia or other debilitating condition can at the same time be a source of stress and frustration.
The most common signs of psychological stress in caregivers involve mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and substance abuse.
Caregiving duties involve various responsibilities, which can become too demanding on a caregiver. For example, being a caregiver to a person with dementia can be both emotionally and physically challenging. In addition, progressive cognitive deterioration in dementia patients causes personality changes and behavior problems, making caregiving difficult at times.
Many caregivers report various symptoms of psychological stress such as:
- Feeling drained most of the time
- Intense feelings of worry and sadness
- Becoming easily irritated
- Sleep problems
- Appetite changes and weight problems
- Losing interest in activities a person once enjoyed
- Feeling guilty
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Experiencing frequent aches and pains
- Relationship problems
In many cases, psychological stress stems from a lack of boundaries – many caregivers provide care and support to their loved ones around the clock, neglecting their own needs.
This may lead to feelings of exhaustion, isolation, or depression, sometimes causing caregiver burnout.