Some Indications You Might Benefit From Seeing a Therapist: There are several situations in which people can benefit from therapy. Two important ones for Alzheimer’s caregivers are: When you feel overwhelmed by your stress or when you are seriously depressed.
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
Stress: The Alzheimer’s Association lists the following as symptoms of caregiver stress:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of concentration
- Health problems
Depression: Some of the symptoms of depression are the same as those for stress. The Alzheimer’s Association lists the following symptoms of depression:
- Becoming easily agitated or frustrated
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thought of death, dying or suicide
- Disturbed sleep
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain.
Everyone knows that Alzheimer’s caregiving is almost always stressful and depressing. Virtually EVERY caregiver has more than one of the above symptoms. So how do you know if you could benefit from professional help? I would suggest you consider it whenever you have one or more of the above symptoms, they are significantly interfering with your daily life, and nothing else has helped (such as a support group, group therapy, respite care, pastoral counseling, etc.)
Some Examples of Specific Ways a Therapist Can Help You: Therapists can help people in many ways. Three important ones for Alzheimer’s caregivers are:
- Help you overcome your denial and come to terms with your situation
- Help you manage your depression better (if you are depressed)
- Help you improve your stress management techniques