Caregiver burden

Written by: Marta de la Fuente Lago
Edited by: Top Doctors®

The overload of the caregiver is a state of tension and exhaustion, both physical and psychological, which significantly affects the day-to-day of the caregiver, diminishing their quality of life and harming both personal and family, social and work..

caregiver overload In Psychology , caregiver is understood to be a person dedicated to attending to the needs of another person and to taking care of him or her because, due to medical issues, he or she is dependent.

Most cases of caregiver overload are people who have been exposed to a high-stress stressful life situation for a long time. Faced with a stressful situation, the human body is prepared to face the situation and therefore the person has strength. If this situation persists, there comes a moment that a "emptying" of the defenses can take place at the psychosomatic level, entering the phase of exhaustion. This is what is known as overload.


Caregiver overload: symptoms

The symptoms that a caregiver presents when faced with an overload situation are:

  • Depletion or reduction of energy
  • Depression, apathy, reluctance and / or frequent crying
  • Irritability and / or mood swings
  • Nervousness and / or agitation
  • Difficulties with sleep
  • Decrease in social activities, social isolation
  • Deficit in attention, concentration and memory
  • Weight gain or loss

When these symptoms occur, it is advisable to go to a psychology professional, preferably a stress expert. The first step is to identify the symptoms, recognize the difficulties, understand what is happening and why it has happened, in order to analyze the behavior and assess possible solutions.

It is essential to know and train emotional management tools and learn strategies to devise an action plan and carry it out.


Consequences of caregiver overload

The repercussions of this overload have physical and mental consequences on the caregiver. From mild problems such as anxiety or psychosomatic disorders to more serious problems that have an impact on the economic, labor and social situation.

It is important to highlight that the overload of the caregiver can affect the care that this person provides to the patient, affecting it directly since there can be situations of abandonment of care leading to abuse and abuse towards the dependent person.


Advice for the caregiver

  • Asking for help is not a symptom of weakness, but the opposite. You can not always do everything alone.
  • It is necessary to devote time every day.
  • To be able to take care, first you have to take care of yourself.
  • Eating a diet balances and tries to make the dream as little as possible.
  • Exercise 3 days a week and leave home every day for a walk.
  • Delegate tasks to family and friends, it is impossible to carry a single person all the weight.
  • Devote time to leisure.
  • Do not overprotect the person who cares.
  • If there are doubts about the care, you should ask the health personnel.
  • If the caregiver perceives intense negative emotions frequently, he should make an appointment with a psychologist to learn emotional management strategies.
*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Marta de la Fuente Lago

Marta de la Fuente Lake is a prominent psychologist wide esperiencia in the treatment of cancer patients and is currently the Head of Psycho-Oncology Unit of Hospital MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid. It has an extensive academic background, and specializes in disorders of anxiety and stress, along with eating disorders and body image.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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