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Caregiver Burnout: The Signs and Symptoms




Caregiver burnout is accompanied by specific signs and symptoms. In order to prevent your burnout from becoming a serious issue, you must learn to recognize these symptoms. With this knowledge, you will find that your caregiving abilities improve not only when it comes to caring for other person, but for yourself as well. This article will go over the signs you need to watch out for if you believe you may be suffering from caregiver burnout.


Physical Signs and Symptoms


There are physical signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout, and these are usually obvious in yourself and others. They usually occur later than mental and psychological effects, but they are important to recognize nonetheless.


Inability to Relax: Many find that they are unable to feel calm, even during free time or relaxing activities.


Feeling Tired or Run-Down: This is another common side effect. You feel physically exhausted, as though you’ve just run a marathon.


Trouble Concentrating: If you can’t focus on anything other than caregiving, even when you’re not at work, it might be a sign of burnout. You may find yourself feeling distracted even during activities that were once pleasurable and relaxing.


Trouble Sleeping: This is another common side effect. Many find themselves unable to get a good night’s sleep. Thoughts and worries associated with caregiving obligations may plague your mind, literally keeping you up at night. If you begin to suffer from insomnia, it could be due to caregiver burnout.


Drinking, Eating, or Smoking More: When you experience extreme stress, you are likely to do things excessively in order to help calm you down. This includes eating, drinking, smoking, drug use, etc.


Neglecting Responsibilities: If you notice that your attention is only on caregiving and not on the rest of your daily obligations, you may be suffering from caregiver burnout.


Tired After Sleeping: You may feel tired all of the time, even after a full night’s sleep.


Less Energy: You might notice that you have less energy than before. You’ll probably feel like you’re winding down much earlier, and you’re unable to control it. Having less energy is a common sign to watch out for.


Feeling Sick: Many start to feel sick because of it, almost as if you’re catching every single cold or flu that’s going around. That mainly happens because your body is running on too little energy, and your immune system has weakened because of it.


Irritability: If you’re suffering from caregiver burnout, you’re likely going to feel impatient and irritable with everyone that you’re around, even the person you’re caring for. You will feel snappy, and you’ll probably come off as grouchy to many. That’s a sign that you should seek treatment for your burnout.


Serious Health Issues: Lastly, there are the serious health conditions associated with caregiver burnout. Your blood pressure may increase, which could lead to heart disease, strokes, and even death if it remains untreated. Caregiver burnout can also cause weight gain, and if you suffer from an existing health condition, it could worsen.


Mental Effects of Caregiver Burnout


The mental effects of caregiver burnout may not be as easy to identify and diagnose, but they are equally important. They are listed here:

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Resentfulness

  • Overreacting to minor issues

  • Feeling helpless or hopeless

  • Impatience with people

  • Little to no satisfaction

  • Feeling as though you don’t care about anything anymore

  • Withdrawal from people

  • Losing interest in things you normally like

  • Desire to hurt yourself and/or the person you’re taking care of

Pay close attention to your emotional state, and pinpoint the symptoms you are experiencing. Caregiving is fulfilling work, with many emotional and psychological rewards, if done correctly. But if you feel as though your mental health is suffering because of it, then it’s best that you get help immediately. Caregiver burnout can – and should – be treated. If you avoid the issue and continue your work as though nothing is wrong, you could cause damage not only to your own life but to that of the person you care for.


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