People who are in charge of caring for a person or other people sometimes find themselves in a state of extreme mental and physical fatigue, which is called caregiver burnout. In this article, we examine the symptoms of this problem.
Who is a caregiver?
There are people who take care of sick and needy people. Sometimes a caregiver is someone who cares for a friend or family member who is elderly or disabled, sick or disabled and helps them meet their needs.
It is true that caring for the person you love will make you happy, but repetition of actions will cause severe burnout and fatigue, and will take you away from healthy social relationships. The caregiver’s life will also have negative and unpleasant effects.
What does caregiver burnout mean?
The caregiver becomes so engrossed in his or her supportive role that it causes extreme physical and mental fatigue and exhaustion, a fatigue caused by the stress and anxiety of caring for the person he or she loves. Eventually, these stresses and fatigue cause the caregiver to forget to take care of themselves, to feel alone and helpless, or to think that they are useless in caring for the sick person. Almost everyone who is a Caregiver will reach this stage of erosion and fatigue. This condition will also cause them depression and lack of motivation in caring for the patient. Reaching this stage will be detrimental to both the caregiver and the patient
Signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout
By being aware of the symptoms of this stage, you can be alert to save yourself or other members of the care team from reaching the harmful stage of burnout. Signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout include:
- Avoid being in public
- Withdrawal from people
- Be irritable
- Loss of interest and desire to do the things you used to love
- Forget about taking care of your needs
- Lack of care for your health
- Excessive fatigue
- Depression and decreased mood
- A sense of loss of control and authority over life
Following this stage, the caregiver can also experience physical signs and symptoms, such as:
- Weakness and physical fatigue
- Appetite changes in the form of decreased or increased appetite
- Physical pain
- Decreased immune system and recurrent infectious diseases
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
The psychological problems created are:
- Concentration disorders
- Feeling frustrated
- Continuous worries
- Be irritable
- Getting angry
- Consecutive fights and disputes
- Isolate yourself
- Lack of desire and motivation for work
Ignoring your needs and getting angry quickly is one of the negative behaviors that occur in the burnout phase of the caregiver.
Sometimes the caregiver engages in drug abuse or excessive alcohol consumption to avoid the symptoms of this stage. Drug abuse can be extremely dangerous for the person being cared for. Caregivers who engage in high-risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse should prohibit the care of the disabled and sick person.
What is compassion fatigue?
As the caregiver wears out, the ability to empathize with the caregiver and others is lost.
The following symptoms occur at this stage:
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Feeling hopeless
- Lots of anxiety
In these cases, it is best to see a medical team, psychiatrist or psychologist.
Physician or specialist team with detailed history and specialized questions will recognize the caregiver burnout. They will check if you care about your needs. Have you taken a break from your work shifts? They will also assess depression and stress levels.
How to prevent caregiver burnout?
- Ask others to help you and accept that you cannot do everything alone
- Be honest with yourself
- Connect with other people who are in a similar situation to you
- Be sure to participate in social activities
- Take care of your health and meet your individual needs
- Have regular vacation days and enjoy the support of others
- Have healthy diet and do not forget fun exercise