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Top 5 Caregiver Stress Symptoms


michellep

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Question: What Are the Top 5 Caregiver Stress Symptoms?

Caregiver stress symptoms can negatively affect your physical and mental health. Even worse is when caregiver stress symptoms lead to caregiver burnout. If you are taking care of a loved one with cancer, recognizing the top 5 caregiver stress symptoms is important. Knowing these symptoms will help you get the support you need to avoid full-blown caregiver burnout.

Answer:

Stress Symptom #1 - Sleeplessness: When you add the responsibility of caring for a loved one to your regular responsibilities, it can lead to sleeplessness. Insomnia plagues millions of Americans who aren't caring for someone with cancer, so it's no surprise that it can affect those who are. You may toss and turn, lying awake while thinking, "How will I get it all done? Between work, the errands, the kids, and now getting John to appointments, how will I fit it in?" The worst part of sleeplessness is that it can contribute to exhaustion, making it even harder to tackle your to-do list.

Stress Symptom #2 - Irritability and Trouble Concentrating: When stressed, it's easy to become irritable and have trouble concentrating. And if you're not sleeping well, your fuse will be even shorter. You may find yourself snapping at your loved ones when they ask a question or want your attention. If you feel more irritable than normal or you can't concentrate at work or home, you may be headed for caregiver burnout.

Stress Symptom #3 - Anxiety and Depression: When you have a lot on your plate, it's easy to become anxious or depressed. You may be anxious that you'll fall short of meeting your loved one's needs. You may feel depressed that life will never be pleasurable for you again. And your anxiety can even have a physical cause. For example, if you aren't sleeping well, your body will produce more stress hormones, such as cortisol. This can heighten your anxiety even further.

Stress Symptom #4 - Denial and Anger: When faced with a loved one's serious illness, it's easy to bury your head in the sand. You may be thinking, "She'll be better in no time. The treatment will be a cinch." It's also easy to find this denial leading to anger. "Why us? Why cancer? It's not fair," are common responses to a cancer diagnosis. This is completely normal, but if denial and anger linger and prevent you from addressing the situation constructively, this can be a sign of caregiver stress. For example, if you're in denial, you may not take the needed steps to take care of your loved one. You may need to line up friends and other family members to help with appointments and chores. Denial can make this seem unnecessary.

Stress Symptom #5 - Poor Health: It's not news that your physical and mental health can suffer due to the stress of caring for someone with cancer. If you're stressed, you may not be sleeping well. You may stop exercising. Many caregivers have guilt over taking time for themselves. Even something as simple as a walk can bring on guilty feelings about all of the other things you should be doing. You may be eating poorly too. If you feel fatigued, you have lots of aches and pains, chronic headaches, or any other health issues cropping up, your caregiver stress may be pushing you toward caregiver burnout.

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I developed insomnia when my dad got sick. LOTS of stress too but I think I was on autopilot for most of it. I was so busy with taking care of him, taking care of my mom, working full time, being a wife and mom and going to school for my certification. It was a crazy and emotional time.

I think It didn't fully hit until after my caregiving was over....

I still don't sleep and struggle with high Bp and insomnia.

When my mom suddenly passed away of a stroke I developed some serious anxiety. I don't take meds or anything but did go to grief counseling for coping skills and I recognize when i'm having full blown anxiety.

I deal with that by keeping things very orderly and as routine as I can. Eventually I think I may have to start high BP meds.

I also get very over stressed in my work- so much so that my immune system is compromized and I've gotten shingles 3 times just this year. My doctor's never had a case like me. LOL.

Anyway, caregivers are unsung heros in the LC journey. Oftentimes they neglect themselves and have no support or outlet for their emotions.

that's why this forum is here.

I'd love for us to hear from other caregivers--what did you experience (or are currently experiencing) and

How do you cope?

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  • 1 month later...

This is so me... We are only in the beginning of this war and I can't sleep, I am angry, cranky and my health is not 100%...

I guess i feel overwhelmed in the sense that I worry not only about my mom (patient) but my dad (main caregiver) he is there all the time with her, so I come in to make sure he gets the break he needs and she gets the support she needs. I am only there two days out the week, and I feel terrible about that. I can never stay very long after I finish cleaning or whatever because it still hurts to see her so ill and now knowing that it's cancer I have not been able to process it.

I am the only child so it's, my job to take care of my parents and I feel stuck, lost, and confused..

I want to move in, but my mom has already expressed that she wants me to maintain a normal life.. which means keep my job and go to school and keep my place. I am honering her wishes but it's hard.

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# 1 rule take care of yourself in order to take care of others....

Keep in mind that a cold can be a really bad thing because Cancer compromises White Blood cells that make up the immunization system..

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