Part One: Recognizing Signs of Burnout
Part Two: How is Burnout Different from Depression?
Part Three: Treating Depression
Part Four: Supporting the Caregiver
The Caregiver may find himself/herself consumed with financial worries. The partner's ESRD may have resulted in major changes in a family's income. And anyone who has tried to untangle the intricacies of insurance or medicare knows how difficult that can be.
The Caregiver may grieve for simpler times gone by. There's a loss of spontaneity in day-to-day life. A Caregiver may grieve for the life he or she had imagined; surely it didn't include ESRD!
It's natural for Caregivers to have frustrations and bad days. But sometimes, it goes beyond that, and the Caregiver is at risk for Burnout.
Burnout feels like you can't possibly continue for another day -- you're too worn down and bone tired. This can be uncomfortable and dangerous for the patient and the Caregiver. Our own health can suffer and we make more mistakes.
Be on the lookout for these warning signs:
3. Persistent crying
4. Inattention to usual grooming
5. Avoidance of exercise
6. Inattention to the Caregiver's own health
7. Poor concentration; difficulty reading
8. Low energy level
9. Sleep disturbances
10. Weight gain or loss without trying
11. Loss of interest in usual activities
12. Decreased libido
13. The sense that nothing will ever get better
14. Helplessness and/or hopelessness
15. Excessive worry
15. Feelings of guilt
These symptoms are important to watch for. If you see these symptoms lingering in yourself, get some help from your Primary Care Health Professional or your Kidney Center Social Worker.
If you've noticed that these symptoms of Burnout resemble the symptoms of Depression, you're correct.
Tomorrow, we will look at "What is the Difference Between Burnout and Depression?"
Hopefully, by knowing what to watch for in ourselves and in others, we can nip problems in the bud before they become major problems.
Take care. Linda Gromko, MD