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Emotional Signs of Caregiver Stress

Caregiving can take emotional toll
It's important to recognize the emotional signs of caregiver stress.

Find home care near you or your loved one:

"I'm so scared I'm not going to be able to get everything done. I can't believe no one will help me! It makes me so angry. I've never felt so alone and out of control before."

The emotional experiences involved with providing care can strain even the most capable person. The resulting feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, isolation, exhaustion—and then guilt for having these feelings—can exact a heavy toll.

It's important to recognize the emotional signs of caregiver stress. Take a look at the following list and see if any apply to you:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Moodiness/mood swings
  • Butterflies
  • Irritability, easily frustrated, road rage
  • Memory problems and lack of concentration
  • Feeling out of control
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Phobias
  • Argumentative
  • Feeling of isolation
  • Job dissatisfaction

Noticing the way stress affects you physically is sometimes easier than seeing how it is affecting you emotionally. You may want to think about how your spouse or children are reacting to you. If you're more grumpy than normal they may let you know or may just avoid you altogether.

Consider talking with a healthcare professional that can help you to evaluate your situation. Remember, it is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you are a family caregiver. In fact, it is important that you take initiative with your own physical and emotional care, or else it could make you less useful to the person for whom you are caring.

Get more tips on learning to avoid and cope with caregiver stress.

Last revised: April 11, 2010

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. September 14, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Posted by Daria Bonomini

    I am sympathetic to all that are caregivers and are on a revolving and continuous roller coaster ride. Sometimes I feel like I will never get off of it. I was a caregiver, am a caregiver and will be one until the day I die. Since 2001, I and my family have gone through so many illnesses and so many deaths with no break in between. We went from MS to Alzheimers to Kidney Failure/Dialysis to a Stroke and all types of cancers. Care had to be given to all family members until they died which sometimes took 10 years. Now, since 1995, when my husband retired from the Fire Dept., it has been non-stop back surgeries, blood clots, hernias, pancreatic cancer, throat cancer and treatments. Driving to doctors, hospitals, tests and more tests, this has worn me out and the tears never stop. I am so tired and I ask God for strength each and every day. All I can hear in my home is coughing, choking, spitting up every single day. The only time I find peace is when he is sleeping. The worst part of this is watching and listening to a person go from a vibrant human being to a body worn out from so many serious ailments and you are just so helpless, can not do a thing just watch them deteriorate to skin and bones with heavy breathing. You ask yourself, "how much more can I endure?" He needs 24/7 care but will not go. We can not afford to pay someone to assist. We have expended so much money into our home which was in need of major work. When you take a good look at a caregiver's life and look into their hearts, you will find hopelessness!


    • September 22, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Posted by Nancy Baker

      Hi, I feel deeply all you are going through. I am on a break to eat after spending 21 hours as a sole caregiver. I sent, propbably a rude text to my brother who lives 15 minutes away, tellling him I needed a short break


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