Resources for Caregivers Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment
It is a special thing being a caregiver for others. Taking care of the elderly and sick is quite a fulfilling role and a selfless career. Sacrificing the hours spent working, it is no 9-5 job. It can bring a sense of purpose, but it can also be very physically and mentally exhausting. Especially for those who are dealing with terminal patients constantly, it can be an emotional challenge, many patients who require caregivers have no one else. Whether the role consists of providing care for a cancer patient or an ill, disabled or elderly person, there are many cases that caregivers turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their career challenges.
There can be a number of substances abused because of the taxing work being a caretaker entails. Benzodiazepines, antidepressants, alcohol and stimulant medications are among some of the common abused drugs by the caretaker career field.
There are extreme risks for anyone abusing alcohol and drugs, especially when the abuse becomes a full-blown addiction. There are many treatment resources available for those who work in the health industry and this is good news for caretakers. It is also important to know the signs of abuse for the patients they are caring for.
Types of Caretakers
There are many kinds of caregivers, conditions of each patient they are assigned to are rarely the same. Many cases involve live-in around the clock care, and physical ability while others can be less intrusive and time consuming. A typical schedule is far from normal though, many caretakers work uncommon hours and can lead to a variety of mental disorders. A caregiver can be a relative, friend or hired professional. Some of the most common roles include caregivers:
There are Caretakers for:
Chronically or Terminally Ill
Mental & Emotional Challenges of Being a Caregiver
The demands of being a caregiver can be extremely exhausting, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. When substance abuse is added to the mix it is never a pretty site. But the negative effects of being a caregiver can exist whether substances are present or not.
Loneliness and Social Isolation
There are many caregivers that even after enduring these factors never struggle with a substance abuse disorder, whereas others do have the need to abuse substances to cope with the above factors. There are also many caretakers who are prescribed medications for depression, anxiety and pain every day, and many are able to take medication without falling victim to addiction. Keep in mind, just as with any other prescription situation, the chances of substance abuse are higher for individuals with a medication prescription than for those without.
The Consequences of Alcohol and Drug Abuse as a Caretaker
Constantly bearing the emotional, mental and physical strain of caretaking many relieve this pain by turning to alcohol and drugs to cope. These behaviors can quickly get out of hand, and have horrible repercussions for both the caregiver and the loved one in need of aid.
When a caregiver develops a substance use disorder, they risk:
The Loss of Their Job
Inability to Care for Themselves
Inability to Care for Loved Ones
When life becomes unmanageable and the people surrounding you start to notice a problem, the proper treatment for addiction is needed. Being a caregiver comes with many sacrifices and huge responsibilities. Any substance abuse is only temporarily relieving of the pain, and more times than not make any situation more difficult. Being a caretaker who is suffering with addiction not only will have tragic outcomes for their own life, but also will directly endanger the health and safety of the person being cared for.
Treatment for Caretakers With Drug and Alcohol Addiction
If you are a caregiver, it may be difficult to reverse the typical role you are in and admit that help is needed. It can be a transitional time that is difficult for those who are used to constantly take care of others. By accepting and receiving the help needed, you can improve your ability to help others and your life overall.
Signs That a Caregiver Needs Help With Substances
If you’ve experienced any of the following signs or symptoms, or you notice inconsistencies or changes in behavior in a caregiver you know, it may be time to seek help. The following signs can definitely indicate a substance use disorder:
Being overly protective or secretive about medications
An excess in pill bottles or alcohol containers
Physical changes including red or glassy eyes, runny nose and constant sniffling
Poor personal hygiene
Client or loved one’s medications go missing
Collecting and filling excess prescriptions for clients or family members
Hiding pill bottles or taking other people’s medications home “for safekeeping”
Withdrawal from friends, family and activities that once brought joy
Poor personal hygiene
There are many addiction treatment options for caregivers who may be struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. The first step of treatment would be a medical detox followed by inpatient rehab and eventually transition into an out-patient program. The best way to properly heal from addiction is with an evidence-based treatment program that is customized specifically for each and every individual. At The Beaches Treatment Center, we meet every client where they are on their recovery journey. All of our treatment programs are client focused with a focus on healing the whole individual, mind, body, and spirit.
Self-Care Helps You Become a Better Caregiver
While constantly helping others is a noble and challenging calling, if you neglect your own health then your clients or loved ones will start to be neglected as well. Whether you’re taking care of clients in their own homes, working with people at a hospital or other facility, or caring for a family member or friend, it can be difficult to juggle the demands of everyday life with caregiving. The first step is admitting there is a problem, by reaching out for help you are going to be a better person for your loved ones. Self-love is extremely important in any caretaker position, you must first develop a loving and caring relationship with your own mind and body. In order to help others the best you can, you need to help yourself. There are so many mistakes that could be extremely detrimental to your loved one or clients if you are abusing alcohol and drugs. Mistakes are easy while being high or drunk, you wouldn’t want to mess up medication dosages, time tracking, and other essential functions of caretaking for your client or loved one.
At The Beaches Treatment Center, we can help you heal from addiction. We offer comprehensive treatment care plans for those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our focus is treating the entire person- mind, body and spirit, and teaching them the skills for a long, happy life in recovery in order to return to life successfully off drugs and alcohol.