7 Alarming Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout That Require Immediate Attention

Are you one of 43.4 million Americans providing caregiving to an adult or child? Caregiving can be a necessary and gratifying experience between you and the other person. However, it can also be mentally and physically taxing.

Caregiver burnout is a real phenomenon that can impact the quality of your physical and emotional health. Failing to address it can lead to serious issues for both you and your loved ones. Let’s examine the top symptoms you should know about.

Constant Agitation

Do you snap when people try and comfort you? Are you feeling on edge all the time? Do the smallest triggers set you off?

Caregiver burnout can result in increased feelings of frustration. Of course, irritation makes sense. You are only human, and it can be challenging to manage the nuances of caregiving. However, a constant feeling of agitation often signals burnout. This agitation can impair your judgment and severely impact the work you’re trying to provide.

Anxiety and Chronic Worry

When someone you love is struggling, it’s reasonable to worry about their well-being. The future may seem bleak, and that can be frightening for anyone. With that, anxiety can accompany any caregiving.

However, severe anxiety can compromise your well-being and daily functioning. Are you struggling with racing thoughts that won’t quit? Are you experiencing an increase in nightmares or panic attacks? Does the future bring you a sense of utter dread?

Any of these symptoms may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder. Seeking treatment can help you identify and implement healthier coping skills for managing these intense feelings.

Increasing Desire To Escape Your Feelings

It’s normal to unwind with a glass of wine or a piece of your favorite chocolate from time to time. However, if you’re constantly trying to escape your current reality, you may be experiencing severe caregiver burnout. Self-medicating can include:

  • Substance use (both with legal and illicit substances)
  • Overeating
  • Gambling or compulsive shopping
  • Compulsive sexual behavior
  • Bingeing on television shows or movies
  • Spending excessive time online

When moderated, engaging in these escape routes isn’t inherently a problem. However, if you’re finding yourself in a cycle of losing control, it’s time to seek help.

Constant Feelings of Fatigue and Lethargy

Any disruption in your daily routine can impact your sleep schedule. However, if you’re continuously feeling drained, it may be a sign that you’re overextending yourself.

Inadequate sleep is associated with numerous health risks including:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Increased feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Poor concentration and problem-solving skills

Sufficient sleep needs to be a non-negotiable part of your health routine. If you are struggling to fall or stay asleep (or you’re struggling with nightmares), these problems warrant immediate attention.

Isolation From Others

Depending on your particular situation, caregiving can be a full-time job- often without pay. However, there is a good chance that you are juggling your caregiving duties with other essential responsibilities like working, keeping up with the house, taking care of other dependents, etc.

Unfortunately, many caregivers sacrifice their other relationships due to time and energy constraints. You may not feel up to socializing after a long day. Likewise, you may worry about being a burden on the people that you love.

However, we all need support. When caregiving, it’s vital that you have people you can lean on for encouragement and love.

Increased Depression

Are you struggling with a deep, pervasive sense of sadness? Do you feel like life has become worthless or meaningless? Are you dragging yourself out of bed each day- only to feel like nothing is making much of a difference?

Depression can be insidious. You may not even realize that you’re struggling before you’re deep into the throes of it. Moreover, if you’re part of the 17.3 million Americans already susceptible to depression, caregiving can undoubtedly exacerbate your symptoms.

If you are struggling, it’s important to reach out for help. Depression can result in life-threatening consequences, and you deserve to take care of yourself.

Replaying The Should-Haves and What-Ifs

Most all grief and trauma encompass some rumination about alternative scenarios. What if you had been more diligent about making sure your loved one went to the doctor? Should you have been paying more attention to certain symptoms?

Unfortunately, playing this game doesn’t change the current outcome. Moreover, the constant questioning only tends to fill you with more doubt, shame, self-loathing. If you are finding that you can’t stop the obsessive thinking (despite wanting to stop), you may benefit from speaking to a professional. Therapy can help you learn healthier ways to cope with these destructive thinking patterns.

Getting Help For Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout isn’t your fault, and it’s a common reality that many kind and hardworking people experience. That said, it doesn’t always get better on its own, and you don’t need to suffer in silence. Contact me today to learn more about how therapy can provide you with the support and healing you need.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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