Drug and Alcohol Treatment Resources for Caregivers
Mental Effects of Caregiver Substance Abuse
The demands of being a caregiver are many, and they can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion as well as mental disorders over time. Add substance abuse to the mix, and these effects can worsen. But the negative effects of being a caregiver can exist whether substances are present or not. They include:
- Social isolation and loneliness: If a caregiver has to be available 24/7 to care for someone, it can cause them to become isolated from others, which can lead to loneliness. Having to sacrifice their schedule and free time can also make it difficult to maintain healthy friendships and build a romantic relationship.
- Depression: Another potential emotional toll of being a caregiver, depression can slowly seep into their life while they are dedicating their time to someone else. Caring for someone on a daily basis and juggling the needs of that person with their own can be distressing, especially if the person is terminally ill. Knowing there may not be any relief or payoff for these efforts, and watching a loved one suffer may also take a toll on the caregiver’s happiness.
- Anxiety and stress: Having to make difficult decisions and keeping up with the many needs of your loved one (medication, hygiene, therapy, meals, doctor visits, etc.) can be stressful, with the potential to lead to anxiety. Family drama and resentment for the lack of help by other relatives, among other issues, can also contribute to stress and anxiety.
- Fatigue: Being available around the clock to care for a loved one often means waking up in the middle of the night to meet different needs. One night, it might be to help them to the bathroom. Another night, it might be for an emergency trip to the hospital. After so many sleepless nights with so many daily responsibilities, many of which can be strenuous, fatigue can easily set in.
While many caregivers endure these factors without the need to rely on any person or substance (medication, etc.) to cope, others do have the need, but both scenarios can be perfectly healthy. Caregivers and individuals who aren’t caregivers are prescribed drugs for depression, anxiety and pain every day, and thousands of them take these medications safely and as prescribed. But just as with any other prescription situation, the chances of substance abuse are higher for individuals with a drug prescription than for those without one.
Self-Care Helps You Become a Better Caregiver
Helping others is a noble and challenging calling. Whether you’re taking care of clients in their own homes, working with people at a hospital or other facility, or caring for a family member or friend, it can be difficult to juggle the demands of everyday life with caregiving.
If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, or mental health concerns like depression while caring for others, there are many resources that can help. By reaching out, you can better serve those you care for. Before you can be a force for good for others, you must first develop a loving and caring relationship with your own mind and body. You can ensure that you are properly administering care to others by ensuring that your own needs are met. While under the influence of substances or during a mental health crisis, it is easy to make mistakes with medication dosages, time tracking, and other essential functions of caregiving. Understanding that you can and should be cared for can make a world of difference in your life and in the lives of those you love.
The Recovery Village offers comprehensive treatment for those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health concerns. By treating the whole person and laying the groundwork for a life-long recovery, clients can learn how to live their lives free from the confines of substances. If you or someone you know is ready for treatment, call today to learn more about how The Recovery Village cares for others.