Caregiver stress can lead to all sorts of health related issues, including depression. When you’re caring for an elderly loved one, you know that you have a great responsibility for their care and well-being. You may even be willing to put your own life on hold and harm your own health in order to provide the best care for them.
However, too much stress in anyone’s life can lead to depression. Depression can come in many forms and it can be related to the struggles that you have to deal with on a daily basis, loss of a loved one, a job, or more, and even through low self esteem.
Depressed moods are common and just about everyone will feel depressed at some point in their life. Deeper depression, also known as clinical depression, can be far more severe. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, “more than half of caregivers show signs of clinical depression, and caregivers take more prescription medications, including those for anxiety and depression, than others in their age group (according to WebMD).”
The more stress that a person endures, the more it’s going to take a toll on other aspects of their life. When it’s caregiver stress that you’re talking about, this could be related to the loss of a hobby, not spending enough time in your own relationships, and even worrying about your elderly loved one all of the time.
When you are a family caregiver, you might be willing to sacrifice certain aspects of your life for their best interest, but too often these individuals go too far or give up too much for those around them. They put their own families, careers, and even close friendships at risk.
When you wake up in the morning and spend your day worrying about and caring for your elderly loved one, it leaves no room in your life for anything else. When you give up the things that interest you, that are most important to you, then you’re more likely to become depressed as a result.
If you don’t address the depression that you are feeling at the moment, as a result of caregiver stress, it increases the chances that the depression will become worse. It can lead to increase thoughts of suicide, that your life is too hard or that it’s not worth the struggle. It can also mask other potential health problems.
If you are stressed as a caregiver, it’s important that you take steps to avoid becoming clinically depressed. If you feel that you may be depressed, seek professional help now, before it becomes more severe.
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