Caring for a loved one or patient with Alzheimer’s is no easy task. Long-term caregivers often experience symptoms similar to PTSD, ranging from panic attacks to depression and anxiety. While PTSD is often though of in terms of military service members, anyone experiencing trauma can develop this condition.
You might not think that being a caregiver is traumatic, but watching a loved one succumb to Alzheimer’s can put a caregiver through trauma. The result is a burnout, leading to the inability to continue your care. Here’s what you need to know about this phenomenon and how to deal with it.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is brought on by terrifying and traumatic events. These events can be experienced or witnessed. That’s why service members who go through the horrors of war often develop this condition.
Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. Depression and other changes in emotional reactions are also common. Those with PTSD may be easily frightened, angered, or find themselves constantly on guard against another event. Overwhelming guilt and shame are also common, as are self-destructive coping mechanisms.
For caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s, PTSD can be caused by simply watching their loved one’s mental state deteriorate. Those unequipped for long-term care may find the stress of daily routines too much to bear, while others will experience trauma from attempting to find medical aid and being turned down.
The constant fear of not having access to proper healthcare and what might happen to a loved one because of it is enough to impact anyone’s mental health. Even with an experienced attorney to help mitigate issues, like those at the Law Office of Omid Nosrati, the financial strain can be too much to bear.
As caregiver burnout and the symptoms of PTSD set in, you slowly become unable to further care for your loved one. This scenario isn’t fair to you or them, making it vital that you seek professional help. At the same time, you need to find proper care for the individual with Alzheimer’s.
Take the time to look for a facility that offer experienced and compassionate memory care. While the decision to place your loved one in a car facility isn’t an easy one, it’s the best thing you can do for the both of you.
In the meantime, find a therapist who is experienced in working with people that have PTSD symptoms. Caregiver burnout is a real disorder, which means you need real help to work through this condition. At the same time, you should develop a support group that you trust.
Your support group could be friends, family, or other individuals that have experienced a similar situation. The ability to talk about your thoughts and feelings with people who understand them is vital to overcoming the symptoms of PTSD. In the meantime, you can continue to be there for your loved one while trained staff attend to their every need.