Symptoms of Depression for Caregivers
Just as depression endangers your care receiver's recovery, it also endangers your health and well-being. Depression increases your risk in every major disease category, particularly cardiovascular disease.
Here are the symptoms of depression:
- persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- appetite and/or weight changes
- thoughts of death or suicide, or suicidal attempts
- restlessness, irritability
If you have five or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, depression may be the cause. Talk to a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist about treatment options. The most effective treatment combines medication with talking therapy.
- Claim time for yourself and make sure you use it; otherwise, you will burn out and the person in your care will suffer.
- Make and keep doctor's appointments for yourself; otherwise, when you get sick, everyone will suffer.
- Join a caregiver support group; otherwise, you and the person in your care will suffer isolation.
- Take advantage of respite care opportunities, otherwise, when you break down the person in your care will suffer.