According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 1.5% of the adult population in America suffers from depression. Compare that with the 46-59% of adult caregivers that identify as clinically depressed and you can see that depression among caregivers is a big deal.
Depression is a complex issue. No one really knows what causes depression among adults. We know it’s a combination of both physical, environmental and situational factors, but the exact mix is undetermined. But one thing we do know is that caregivers are at a much greater risk for developing the symptoms of depression than the general population.
Complicating things further, many people don’t know how to recognize depression in themselves, and so they don’t address the problem before it becomes too big to deal with.
Somes signs of depression in adults are:
- Feeling sad or hopeless has become your default setting.
- Loss of appetite.
- Sleeping too much or too little — can’t go to bed and can’t get out once you get there.
- Lack of motivation.
- Just feeling numb to normal emotion.
- Easily agitated or angered by mundane things.
- Increased drug or alcohol consumption.
- Failing to exercise or maintain your physical appearance.
- Suicidal ideations.
- Suffering from physical symptoms such as chronic headaches, digestive problems and pain.
The methods used to treat depression are many. In some cases, a counselor or therapist might recommend that you go on antidepressants. These powerful medications can truly help with depression, but they often come with a host of side effects. It’s best to try to treat depression using more “natural” methods such as thought or behavior modifications before pulling out the “big guns” of powerful antidepressants.
That National Institute of Mental Health suggests several methods for coping with and arresting depression before it becomes crippling.
- Try to exercise and be active.
- Set realistic goals and achieve them. Don’t take on too much.
- Spend time with friends and loved ones.
- Find a confidant that you trust and confide in them
- Don’t isolate yourself. Ask for help if you need it.
- Don’t expect to immediately feel better. Correcting depression takes time.
- Don’t make any life changing decisions while suffering from depression.
Are you beginning to feel the symptoms of depression after being a primary caregiver? Turn to the professionals at Affinity Hospice Care. We are experienced in caring for the caregivers as well as our patients. We’re here to help. All you have to do is ask.