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Addiction and Care-Giving

Addiction and Care-GivingAs life-expectancy rates increase, the care-giving profession is expanding as well. More and more aging people are requiring care-giving services that range from companionship to medically supervised medication management. People with healthcare experience are exploring opportunities in this field because the need for their services is increasing. However, the physical and emotional toll of this role can cause some to struggle with the responsibilities. It is not uncommon for caregivers to resort to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Role of a Caregiver

Caregivers have many responsibilities that require physical endurance and emotional strength. A caregiver may have to help bathe or dress someone who is frail or disabled, take care of household chores, meals, or bills for someone who cannot do these things alone, manage medications or talk to doctors and nurses on someone’s behalf, or take care of someone who has a chronic illness or disease. While each of these responsibilities alone can be demanding, the cumulative responsibility can be overwhelming for many.

Some professional caregivers may have several patients that they are responsible for and the demand on their time and energy can be exhausting.

Family Members as Caregivers

Many family members are finding themselves in the role of caregiver and they are often completely unprepared to handle the responsibilities. In addition to the significant demand of time and energy to perform all of the care-giving responsibilities, many family members have other full-time jobs or other family responsibilities.

Probably the most difficult part of being a caregiver to a family member is the emotional and psychological toll it can take. No one wants to see their parent in need of a diaper change or crying incessantly because they are uncomfortable or afraid. It is very difficult for a family member to provide the emotional support that many aging people need on top of the daily responsibilities.

Stress of Care-Giving Activities and Substance Abuse

Many caregivers have a strong desire to provide the best care possible and may work extra hours, take on additional responsibilities, or experience emotional and psychological distress due to their patients’ struggles. Their eating and sleeping patterns are often disrupted and few people in their social and support network truly understand their responsibilities. The net result is that many caregivers feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and even resentful.

When people are overwhelmed and are not creating the necessary balance in their lives, they will seek other methods of coping. Unfortunately, for many, they believe that the easy way out is to turn to drugs or alcohol. Taking a pill in the morning to kick in some energy or drinking excessively in the evening in an attempt to relax may turn into a serious dependency issue that can lead to addiction.

Get Help for Addiction

Being a caregiver can be an overwhelming experience. However, adding drugs or alcohol to your life could make your life unbearable and cause harm to yourself and those around you. If you have become addicted to drugs or alcohol, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for addiction.