Depression and Caregiving
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Many people with symptoms of depression do not identify themselves as depressed. Some people are not self-aware of these symptoms, while others may have difficulty admitting they are depressed. This is perhaps a delicate matter. An individual may feel like a failure or that others will judge him or her. But here’s what you should know: for carers, depression is more common than you think, and it’s a normal response to a difficult situation. Carers often experience mild to severe depression as a result of dealing with demanding caregiving work.
Depression is an extremely complex illness with many studies underway to pinpoint the exact cause. Known contributing factors include genetic characteristics, hormone levels, environmental triggers, medications, consequences of living with a serious illness, grief and loss due to the death of a loved one, experiencing physical or emotional abuse, living with a person with major depression, and other factors. Not everyone experiences the negative emotions associated with depression. But we do know that in an effort to provide the best care for a family member or friend, caregivers often sacrifice their own physical and emotional needs. The complex and varied aspects involved in providing care can be burdensome even for the most able.
Everyone has negative thoughts or feelings from time to time, but when these feelings get stronger and make you draining, sad, or upset with a loved one, it could be a sign Warning for depression. Concerns about depression arise when feelings of emptiness and crying don’t go away, or when these negative emotions come and go.
Unfortunately, feelings of depression are often seen as a sign of weakness rather than a sign that something is out of balance. Other people’s comments like “get over it” or “I just think so” are unhelpful, and reflect a belief that health concerns are not real. Ignoring or denying your feelings will not make them go away.
Get early attention to symptoms of depression through exercise, a healthy diet, active support from family and friends, or consultation with a qualified mental health or health professional. Training can help prevent depression from getting worse over time.
Symptoms of depression
People experience depression in different ways. Some people may have classic symptoms, such as sadness and hopelessness. Others may show signs that you don’t think are depression, such as extreme fatigue or irritability. The type and severity of symptoms vary by individual and may change over time. Consider these common depressive symptoms. Have you experienced any of the following symptoms for longer than two weeks?
- Feeling sad, want to cry, empty, hopeless
- Change in eating habits—weight loss and unwillingness to eat or cravings with weight gain
- Sleep changes—sleeping too much or not enough
- Always feel tired, have a hard time getting motivated to do something
- Loss of interest in people and/or activities that once brought you joy
- Feeling calloused
- Easily agitated or angry
- Feeling like I’m not good enough
- Increased consumption of alcohol or drugs
- Spending too much time on the Internet
- Having trouble concentrating, thinking, or planning—it’s like your head is covered in fog
- Indifferent to your physical health and appearance
- Thinking of running away, or escaping from the situation
- Thinking about death or suicide, having ideas about how to end your life
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, and chronic neck and back pain
Special concerns for carers
- Caring for someone with dementia can lead to burnout. Researchers found that someone who cared for someone with dementia was twice as likely to be depressed than someone who cared for someone without dementia. Not only do caregivers spend significantly more time each week providing care, they also experience more problems at work, personal stress, mental and physical health problems, insomnia, less more time doing things they enjoy, less time with other family members, and more family conflicts than carers for someone without dementia.The decline in mental and physical capacity of a loved one is already stressful for carers, so dealing with dementia-related behavior is an even greater contributor to the development of dementia. into depression. Dementia-related symptoms such as wandering, agitation, hoarding, shameful behavior, and the opposition or uncooperative behavior of loved ones on a daily basis are challenging and disheartening. caregivers have difficulty resting or receiving support in providing care. The more severe the dementia, the more likely the caregiver is to develop depression. Receiving constant and reliable support and rest, especially in these cases, is essential for carers.
- The rate of depression in women is higher than in men. Women, mainly wives and daughters, do most of the caregiving. In the United States, an estimated 12 million women experience clinical depression each year, at about twice the rate in men. If you think depression is self-made, think again. Physical factors such as menopause, childbirth, perimenopausal syndrome, thyroid disease, and nutritional deficiencies such as iron, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids can all contribute to depression.An American Mental Health study found that many women don’t get treatment for depression because they’re embarrassed or in denial about having depression. In fact, 41% of women surveyed cited feeling ashamed or embarrassed as a barrier to treatment. Remember that the doctor has heard about all of this. A thorough physical exam is important for both your mental and physical health. Take time during your visit to talk about depression if you suspect you are experiencing symptoms of depression.
- Male caregivers deal with depression differently. Men rarely admit to being depressed, and doctors rarely diagnose depression in men. Men will often “self-treat” their depressive symptoms, such as anger, irritability, or feelings of helplessness, by drinking or diving into work. Although male carers are often more willing than women to hire outside help to help with household chores, they often have fewer friends to vent to or activities to do. more actively to participate outside. The mistaken assumption that depression is a sign of weakness can make it very difficult for men to seek help.
- Military carers and veterans are at risk for depression.Military and veteran carers are nearly twice as likely to experience depression as carers for non-military personnel. The more severe the mental and/or physical health condition of a veteran, the harder it will be for you to provide care. Conditions such as dementia, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder (TBI and PTSD) can be extremely challenging for caregivers. Trying to cope with the day-to-day life that comes with watching for a veteran’s flare-ups, or helping them deal with their own stress, can make you feel overwhelmed and emotional. depressive emotions, especially feelings of helplessness and despair. As a military carer, you probably don’t have anyone else in your life to understand and experience caring for a service member, especially younger caregivers as their co-workers are less likely to experience the same kinds of challenges. You may have moved to get better access to VA benefits, or to an area more supportive of the needs of the military person you care for, which could make you feel isolated. and less likely to get help from people you know and trust. That doesn’t mean there’s no help. The first step is to discuss with your doctor who can send you to a mental health professional who can prescribe a prescription if needed. which can make you feel more isolated and less able to get help from people you know and trust. That doesn’t mean there’s no help. The first step is to discuss with your doctor who can send you to a mental health professional who can prescribe a prescription if needed. which can make you feel more isolated and less able to get help from people you know and trust. That doesn’t mean there’s no help. The first step is to discuss with your doctor who can send you to a mental health professional who can prescribe a prescription if needed.
- Insomnia contributes to depression. While sleep needs vary, most people need eight hours of sleep each day. Insomnia as a result of caring for a loved one can lead to major depression. It’s important to remember that while you may not be able to make your loved one rest through the night, you must make arrangements to get enough sleep. Hiring someone or asking a friend to stay with your loved one while you sleep, finding a daycare center, or scheduling another family member to share a few nights are just a few ways to stay committed. take care of you and still get enough sleep.
- Depression can linger after a loved one is admitted to a care center. Making the decision to send a loved one to a care center can be stressful. While many caregivers can finally get enough rest, loneliness, guilt, and monitoring how loved ones are being cared for in this new location can create new stress. Many caregivers feel depressed at the time of admission of a loved one, and some continue to feel depressed for some time after.
Many people assume that once caregiving is over, the stress of having to provide direct care goes away. However, the researchers found that even after the dementia spouse had been gone for three years, some previous caregivers continued to experience depression and loneliness. In an effort to get their life back to normal, former caregivers may also need to seek help for depression.
What to do if you think you have depression
Depression deserves the same attention as any other illness, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Similarly, the best way to find out what is causing the symptoms is to discuss it with a qualified professional, like your doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable using the term depression, tell your doctor that you are “feeling sad” or “downbeat,” and describe your personal experience and symptoms. The more specific you are, the better your doctor can help you. It’s important to make it a priority during your appointment and to be as honest as possible so your doctor can help.
It is not uncommon for someone receiving care to develop depression without a diagnosis. Things feel worse than reality from their perspective with whatever day-to-day caregiving challenges you have to go through. If you suspect that you are experiencing this situation in your care, look for an opportunity to share your concerns with them. If they hesitate to talk about this with you, encourage a trusted friend to talk to them or consider sending a letter to their doctor about your concerns before your next appointment. surname.
How is depression treated?
The first step to getting the best treatment for depression is to see a mental health professional such as a psychologist, social worker, or other licensed therapist. At the same time, schedule a checkup with your doctor. Certain medications, as well as certain medical conditions such as viral infections, can cause symptoms that resemble depression, and should be evaluated by a doctor. The examination should include tests and a mental status interview to determine if speech, memory, or thought circuits are affected.
Although a doctor may prescribe antidepressants, medication alone is not the most effective treatment for depression. Concurrent guidance of a mental health professional is strongly recommended. A therapist or counselor will listen to your concerns, screen you for symptoms of depression, and support you with progressive ways to manage your stress and develop coping strategies. new.
Another way to find an expert is to ask friends about someone they know and trust. You can also find a specialist by asking your pastor or chaplain, your doctor, or, if you are employed, you can check your employer’s insurance provider list or the Assistance Program. Employee Assistance Program (EAP). In addition, national organizations can provide contact information for mental health professionals in your community. (See “Find a Professional in Your Area” in this document.)
It is important to trust and feel comfortable with the specialist you see. It is not uncommon to ask for a free consultation by phone or in person to help decide if a professional is a good fit for your unique needs and style. Should clarify:
- How much is the price?
- How much will your insurance pay?
- How many scheduled sessions do you expect to have with a mental health therapist?
Any therapy should be periodically evaluated to ensure that it continues to contribute to your health and adulthood.
When considering a physical and mental health assessment, a course of treatment may be recommended. The main treatments are psychotherapy (also known as mental health and talk therapy) and antidepressants. These treatments can be used alone or in combination. The most common treatment for depressive symptoms that have progressed to a mild stage is an antidepressant, which provides relatively rapid symptom improvement. Essential for the treatment of depression is the simultaneous use of psychotherapy with medication. Discussing your situation with a therapist can open up new self-awareness to address a specific emotional concern and provide guidance for addressing challenges to becoming more confident. stay healthy and stay healthy.
When choosing a therapist, be sure to ask about their experience working with family caregivers and their understanding of caregiver-related stressors.
If drug therapy is needed, a certain amount of trial and error is needed to find the right type and dose of medication for each individual, and it can take several weeks before it becomes effective. Good communication between the patient and the doctor is important. Older adults should be especially careful about side effects caused by too high a dose or by interactions with other medications.
Complementary and alternative therapies
Many complementary and alternative therapies have been proposed to deal with depression. Some methods have been tested in scientific clinical trials, but many remain untested. Here’s an overview of some of the most common treatments:
Exercise: Exercise has been shown to reduce the impact of depression. Walking three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes has been linked with a reduction or improvement in symptoms of depression. If you don’t have too much time for that, then start with 15 minutes once a week. The important message is to start exercising regularly.
It is not known whether physical activity prevents depression onset or just helps to modulate effects. Scheduling time for exercise is sometimes difficult for caregivers. It is often seen as a “value added” activity—something to do when all else is done. You might consider putting it on your “to do” list, have a friend give you “walking days” each week as a gift, or ask your doctor to prescribe walking or Attend a fitness class. All research shows that for a healthier life, it’s wise to make time for exercise.
Mind-Body Technique: A growing body of research shows that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions can have a direct impact on our health and well-being. can affect mental health. Your mind and body are linked together. Applying mind-body techniques to your daily routine can help improve depression.
Any 5 to 10 minutes of any technique can be beneficial. Here are a few techniques to try:
- Deep breath
- Listen to music
- Arts creativity
- Directed Imagination
Supplements : Over-the-counter herbs such as primrose (St. John’s Wart, Hyperium perforatum) and other supplements such as SAMe and omega-3 fatty acids are being studied and/or are being developed. widely used in the United States and Europe to treat depressive symptoms. Currently, for over-the-counter drugs in the United States, there are no clear standards for determining how much active ingredient a company puts in its product or what dose is appropriate for a particular person. It is difficult to determine the effectiveness of a product, and there can be harmful side effects. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a notice warning that rosemary may interfere with the metabolism of many prescription drugs used to treat a number of conditions, including heart disease, depression, and HIV infection.
If you are taking any herbs or are considering using them, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure they do not interfere with any other treatment. your.
Light Therapy: Caregivers who feel sad while indoors or under the effects of gray winter days may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD). winter depression.” As the seasons change, our internal circadian clock or sleep-wake rhythm shifts, in part in response to changes in sunlight. This can cause our biological clocks to get out of sync with our daily schedule. People with SAD can have a hard time adjusting to meager amounts of sunlight during the winter months. Symptoms of SAD are most apparent in January and February, when daylight is shortest. SAD is often misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral infections.
Light therapy, using specially designed fluorescent lamps, has been shown to reverse the depressive symptoms of SAD. Many experts believe that light therapy works by changing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, specifically melatonin. Antidepressants along with other treatments, including exercise, can also help. If you experience symptoms of seasonal depression, experiment with increasing the light in your surroundings, with lamps or other sources. If symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily activities, see a mental health professional with expertise in the treatment of SAD.
Paying for treatment
Private health insurance and Medicare may cover some mental health services, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased coverage for these benefits. mental health benefits. Policies vary greatly, so it’s best to call a mental health professional directly to find out if they’ll accept your coverage. Health insurance providers will often list mental health professionals in the same insurance document that lists medical doctors included in the health plan. People with Medicare will have a pamphlet titled, “Medicare and Your Mental Health Benefits,” a helpful resource. See the Resources section of this document to learn how to obtain a copy of this book.
The plan’s “Covered Services” will specify mental health coverage for inpatient (hospital, treatment center) and outpatient (specialist clinic) care. how many visits are covered, and the rate of reimbursement. Working carers can also access the Employee Support Program, which has licensed professionals (usually a psychologist or social worker) for confidential sessions to discuss personal or work matters.
Professionals who don’t accept insurance are called “out-of-network providers,” and they can give you a bill that you can submit to your insurer for a partial refund. Check with a professional to see if this option is available. If so, you’ll have to contact your insurance company to make sure they cover some of the costs. They may require you to hit a deductible before they start paying.
Caregivers without health insurance or those paying out-of-pocket for health care will find that costs vary by specialist and region, with psychiatrists and Managers will charge the higher end of the price scale, and therapists and social workers will provide services at a more moderate rate. Some professionals will offer an oscillating price scale, which means they can tailor their costs down to meet your needs. There may also be low-cost clinics that have a fixed low price or will charge based on your ability to pay. In locations like these, you will usually be seen by an intern mental health worker with the supervision of a licensed mental health provider. In any case,
Strategies to help yourself
Depression can make you feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings can make some people feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative attitudes are part of depression and may not accurately reflect the circumstances. The following are guidelines according to the recommendations of the National Institute of Mental Health for dealing with depression. Set realistic goals with depression in mind. You may not be able to accomplish as much as you used to when you were healthy.
- Break big tasks into smaller ones, set a few priorities, and do what you can.
- Try to spend time with others and confide in someone you know and trust; This is better than suffering alone.
- Engage in activities that make you feel better, like exercising, going to the movies or a soccer game, or participating in a religious, social, or community event.
- Expect that your mood will improve slowly, not immediately. It takes time to feel better.
- Important decisions should be delayed until the depression has subsided. Before deciding to make a big transition—changing jobs, getting married, or getting divorced—have a discussion with others who know you well and can offer a different perspective on your situation.
- People rarely “quickly get over” depression. The person who expects you to be this way has a misconception about your condition.
- Remember, thinking positively and practicing new ways of coping will replace the negative thinking that is part of depression. Negative thinking will lessen as your depression responds to treatment.
- Say “yes” to offers and interventions from family and friends you know and trust.
Direct support in the care of your loved one, such as home care to give you rest, as well as positive feedback from others, positive self-talk, and related recreational activities. associated with lower levels of depression. Look for classes and support groups through carer support organizations to help you learn and practice the effective coping and problem-solving strategies needed for caregiving. For the health of you and those around you, take the time to take care of yourself.