A caregiver with burnout becomes overwhelmed, is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted from the stress and burden of caring for their loved one and often feels alone, unsupported or unappreciated. As burnout progresses and depression and anxiety increase, a caretaker may use alcohol or drugs, especially stimulants, to relieve symptoms.
Burnout VS Depression
- Depression is a mood disorder. Burnout is a reaction to exposure to severe stress in your environment.
- When feeling depressed, you may feel your life has lost its purpose. With burnout, you may feel like all your energy is depleted.
- If removing caregiver stress does not improve your symptoms, it is more likely you have depression.
- Depression will usually improve with medication and counselling. Burnout will only improve by getting away from the stress of caretaking and focusing on your own health needs.
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Burnout occurs over time as a caregiver feels overwhelmed by the stress of caring for a loved one. Compassion fatigue occurs suddenly, often resulting in the loss of your ability to empathize and have compassion with the person in your care. It is caused by the extreme stress associated with the suffering and traumatic experiences of the people who need you the most.
- Ask friends and family to do some of your caretaking tasks. You don’t have to do everything.
- Know your limits.
- Talk to other caregivers.
- Attend social events. Meet new friends.
- Focus on your self-care.
- Get enough sleep.
Consider respite care.