The symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized behavior. These symptoms interfere with work, self-care, and interpersonal relationships for an extended period. Watching your loved one deal with schizophrenia can be draining along with the physical requirements needed each day. Caregiver burnout is real, and if left unchecked, it can be detrimental not only to the person themselves but also to the ones they swore to protect.
Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
Informal (unpaid) caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Symptoms of burnout mirror those of depression and stress. Caregiver burnout symptoms include:
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and other loved ones
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless and helpless
- Changes in appetite, weight or both
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
What Causes Caregiver Burnout?
Burnout can result when caregivers don’t get the help they need or take on more than they are physically and financially able to handle. Caregivers spend so much time caring for their loved ones, they forget to take care of themselves. Most caregivers also feel guilty if they devote time to themselves versus their loved ones. Other factors include:
- Role Confusion– Many have difficulty separating their role as caregivers from their role as spouses, children, friends, or other close relationships.
- Unrealistic Expectations– A caregiver expects their involvement to impact the patient’s health and happiness positively, and that may be unrealistic in some cases of progressive diseases.
- Lack of Control– Lack of money and resources to effectively plan and manage their loved one’s care.
Can Caregiver Burnout be Prevented?
Family caregivers who reside with those they provide care for spend 40.5 hours per week caring for this person. It is not a matter of how burnout will occur; it’s when. Find someone you trust to talk about your feelings of frustration to, take advantage of respite care services, know your limits, and taking care of yourself are some of the recommendations for combating burnout. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how can you successfully take care of someone else?
If you are the caregiver of a loved one diagnosed with schizophrenia, upcoming clinical research studies may be an option. You are not alone. To learn more about upcoming schizophrenia caregiver studies at Midwest Clinical Research, call (937) 424-1050, or click here.