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Can caregiving cause PTSD?


Question: Caring for my mother, who has with Alzheimer's, almost killed me! My doctor finally ordered me not to continue caring for her 24 hours a day. Do you think that caring for someone with one of these dementia diseases for a long time (five years) could cause post traumatic stress disorder? 

Dr. Amy: Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can be an incredibly demanding and stressful job. Watching a loved one slowly slip away is heartbreaking; caring for someone with difficult behaviours is taxing; and the sheer physical demands are something else again. I am glad to hear that your doctor ordered you to stop carrying the load all by yourself. Five years is a long time.

I’m not sure there is a clear cut answer to your question. You might find this article from the New York Times interesting.  

Whether it is PTSD or another form of stress, it’s important for caregivers to seek help to heal the emotional scars. You might find a support group helpful, together with individual counselling.

It can take time to heal, but healing is possible. I send you peace and strength. 

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. April 13, 2016 at 12:39 am | Posted by Mark Lemmons

    I have a question my better half takes care of her step dad that has altimeter and dementia. I am 100% PTSD and he drives me crazy and I cant get my head around him. She wants to take care of him ! I under stand that but I'm at wits end what should I do ?


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