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Caregiver Syndrome: What to Do When Caring for SomeoneWears You Down

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  • Caregiver Syndrome: What to Do When Caring for SomeoneWears You Down

    Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness such as cancer or Alzheimer's disease presents a unique set of emotional and physical challenges. Depression, anger, anxiety, exhaustion, guilt and chronic stress are common in caregivers, and make up a little-known condition known as caregiver syndrome.

    One out of every four American families cares for someone over the age of 50,according to the American Academy of Geriatric Psychiatrists, so caregiver syndrome may impact up to 25 percent of adults.

    At the root of the problem is elevated stress levels, which are often prolonged and intense. This leads to increased levels of stress hormones similar to those in people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Peter Vitaliano, a professor of geriatric psychiatry at the University of Washington in a article.

    Most every caregiver struggles not only with the increasedworkload of caring for a sick loved one, but also the grief associated with their loved one’s decline in health. Further, most caregivers are so concerned about their loved one and providing excellent care that they neglect to take care of themselves.

    Because of this, over time care giving can lead to chronic illness such as:
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • A compromised immune system
    • An increased risk of death among elderly caregivers

    In some cases a caregiver may even take on the symptoms of the person they’re caring for, such as memory loss. Further, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance:
    • Caregivers commonly have higher levels of depressive symptoms and mental health problems than non-caregivers
    • Between 40 percent and 70 percent of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression (one-quarter to one-half of whom meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression)
    • Caregiving may result in a loss of self-identity, lower self-esteem and constant worry
    • 22 percent of caregivers report feeling exhausted when they go to bed
    • 16 percent of caregivers feel emotionally strained

    How to Best Deal With Caregiver Syndrome

    When caring for a sick loved one, remember that you must also care for yourself.

    “When you are a caregiver it is equally important, if not more important, to make sure you also take care of yourself. And one of the best ways to take care of yourself is to release the emotions you have about being the caregiver and about the one to whom you are giving care,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.

    If you are a caregiver please seriously consider learning The Sedona Method,as it can help you to release any negative emotions you may be holding on to --from anger and anxiety to guilt and grief. The Method is a simple, scientifically proven system that consists of a series of questions. Upon going through the questions, you will tap your natural ability to let go of any unwanted feeling and receive immediate relief.

    The noise of your mind will subside, and your heart will feel more open and healed. Meanwhile, you will feel more alive and cared for,and you will be able to care for your loved one with increased confidence.

    “If you're going to be releasing in action,” Dwoskin says,“I recommend that you simply welcome whatever you're feeling as you're feeling it. You’ll find that you will simply let it go.”

    “I would also recommend that you be on the lookout for any feelings of being a martyr and remember they're just feelings and you can let them go,” he continues. “And also let go of any anger or resentment for the interruption in your life. No matter what you’re feeling, the more you release,the better caregiver you’ll become, and the more you’ll be able to take care of yourself.”

    And by all means, resist the urge to withdraw from friends and family. Instead, seek out their support, call up 'just to talk' and gratefully accept any help that is offered. You can also join a support group for caregivers in your area, or join a local Sedona Method releasing community.
    Purchase Letting Go Movie on DVD
    Purchase Beyond Letting Go
    Purchase The Sedona Method Course
    Learn The Sedona Method in 2 hours.