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- Caregiver depression: Prevention counts
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Caregiver depression: Prevention counts
Caregiver depression can take a toll on you and your ability to care for your loved one. Understand the signs of caregiver depression — and know how to prevent it.By Mayo Clinic staff
Caregiving is often physically and emotionally stressful. In an effort to provide the best care possible, you might put your loved one's needs before your own. In turn, you may develop feelings of sadness, anger and guilt. Sometimes, these emotions can trigger caregiver depression.
What are the symptoms of caregiver depression?
Signs and symptoms of caregiver depression include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities
- Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren't going right
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
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- Caregiving and depression. Family Caregiver Alliance. http://caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=393. Feb. 24, 2010.
- Family caregivers and depression — Symptoms and hope. National Family Caregivers Association. http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org/press_room/detail.cfm?num=120. Accessed Feb. 24, 2010.
- How family caregivers can cope with depression. National Family Caregivers Association. http://thefamilycaregiver.org/improving_caregiving/how_family_caregivers_cope.cfm. Accessed Feb. 24, 2010.
- Takahashi PY (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 13, 2010.