Can caregiving lead to PTSD?
woman suffering extreme stress and headaches

Most people associate PTSD with veterans of war, but you don’t have to be a soldier to experience this condition.

The NIMH defines PTSD as ‘a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.’ When people experience a traumatic event, it’s common to be impacted by it with a range of emotions. People with PTSD don’t recover from this initial trauma. It doesn’t have to be triggered by a ‘dangerous’ event; many people experience PTSD after the death of a loved one or another emotionally challenging experience.

Risk factors for PTSD will sound familiar to family caregivers. They include:

  • Living through dangerous events and traumas
  • Seeing another person hurt, or seeing a dead body
  • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after the event
  • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home

You can learn about the symptoms and diagnosis of PTSD on the NIMH website.

If you think you may have PTSD, talk to your family doctor. If you aren’t comfortable seeking treatment, there are still some first steps you can take. Reducing stress through exercise and seeking out comforting situations can help you feel more secure. Get support from your friends and family, especially by letting them know what situations trigger your symptoms. Try to be realistic about what you can do each day, break up projects into small tasks, and accept that you can’t do everything. PTSD doesn’t go away overnight, but it can get better.

Here’s what some of our veteran caregivers have to say about PTSD:

After caring for my husband, for 20 years, I am afraid to answer my phone, open mail, or attend doctor appointments, fearing more bad news. I just want to hide. – Lynn R.

If you sleep with one ear open, you startle easily. Loss of sleep triggered by this startle reflex, will lead to ptsd. People who fail to understand my situation don’t believe me, but thankfully medical professionals do. – Angela M.

After 27 years caring for my very vulnerable son, I can tell you that it is indeed PTSD. For a mother, the fear of something happening to your child is much worse than anything that could happen to yourself. I have an anxiety disorder and have suffered from depression. You live in terror every time you hire a new respite worker, and only trust yourself as a caregiver. Your decisions carry so much weight that some days you feel they will crush you. – Dawn D.

Being part of caring for my MIL definitely has caused PTSD. Its a complete nightmare, and now I am scared of her! She talks about cutting people and watching them bleed! I know its the dementia, but she scares the hell out of me! I have nightmares about all of it! – Vickie B.

Anecdotally, caregivers who take care of a family member who is or has been abusive are more likely to talk about suffering from caregiver PTSD.

I’m the only child in my 50’s. My parents are near 90, refuse all outside care, cashed in their life insurance policy with not enough for burial. Now there is over 12k in medical bills and they won’t call a lawyer or approve forms for Medicaid. They say no one is putting them in a home. Mom has fallen numerous times and in nursing care and Dad signs her out. To stay out of care she shifts blame onto anyone including, and most of all, me. Agencies won’t help. Doctors quit the case. AOA said it’s one of the most difficult cases they have encountered. – Jacqueline A.

I wish my mom would understand that no one wants to help her because she is a mean old spiteful monster who has alienated EVERY one in the family to the point that they don’t even want to call to talk to her anymore. But she blames me for it! – David R.

I used to think that I would ignore my stepfather who abused me, but when it came down to it…I had to treat him better than me. – Jennifer K.

I can relate to caregiver PTSD from taking care of my mother that never took care of me & Granny that raised me! – Chrissy G.

What should you do if you feel you have caregiver PTSD?

The reason you have PTSD is because you love and you care. The key to reducing anxiety is to get out of your own head. Watch your self talk. Be kind to your mind, it does not know the difference between perceived danger and real danger….live in the moment! – Dawn D.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you may, very well, benefit from talking with a therapist or counselor. I have learned to take time, for myself, once in a while, to spend a few hours, with friends, or even just go for a ride. I feel guilty, for even smiling, sometimes, but we have to take care of ourselves, and find ways to keep our spirits uplifted, while we care for others. For what it’s worth, I would advise you to, whenever you can, do something special, for yourself, even if it is a meal out, a movie, or just something you like. Try to interact, in a positive way, with others, and rejoin the human race. You are entitled to happiness, and, your [loved one] may even want that for you, as well. – Lynn R.

Some comments have been edited slightly for clarity and grammar.

Written by Michelle Daly

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249 Comments

  1. It did with me

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    • I went from caregiver to a grandparent to partial caregiver of a parent to being spousal caregiver without a break, over a period of 10 years. Spouse suffers ongoing residual effects of a TBI. Most people don’t know there’s an abnormality there, but I live in the house with my spouse and encounter the day in, day out exposure to the altered behavior. It has taken a toll on me. I feel so detached and numb, and my joy and vitality has waned. I don’t have dreams and goals driving me now. Things don’t make me laugh or cry like they used to. I don’t mourn losses. I throw myself into my work to cope. I feel like a caged animal sometimes and then feel guilty for not just rolling with it.

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      • I can sympathize with you.
        I have been suffering from PTSD and Anxiety since I was a child. Then, in college I met my future wife, a smart, funny, woman who was deeply caring and generous.
        Sometime in our mid-20s the effects of her yet to be diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis began to impact her ability to think straight. By her early 30s she was forced to retire from teaching as she no longer could think in stressful situations. Now in her mid 40s, we find ourselves without Health Insurance to pay for the $5,000/month medicine that was at least slowing the MS symptoms. Since losing the coverage she has become very confused, incontinent, and prone to dramatic mood swings. She can no longer provide any assistance around the house, leaving me with everything.
        During the last 15 years, her thinking issues have caused several traumatic events in our house which exaserbated by PTSD and Anxiety. On top of this, I was fired from my job because the stress and effort involved in caring for her and constantly worrying she will burn the house down while I am at work 1 hr away took its toll on my ability to do my job. Also, my mother and aunt, the only two relatives I have that I ever talked to, went through traumatic life changes including the slow, agonizing death of my aunt over 6 years from opioid over-prescription, kidney failure, and diabetes while my mother has had over a dozen near-death cardiac events, survived cervical cancer, and has a brain tumor that, along with decades of multiple medication poisoning, has caused her mind to go.
        I have zero friends I feel I can talk to.
        I have not been able to leave the house to try to get another job and working from home is a no go as my wife keeps me too busy to even manage a part-time at home job.
        Because we planned well financially, we thought, we make too much from my wife’s disability to get assistance from any charities or government programs but don’t make enough to be able to pay for my wife’s needs on our own, let alone afford the mental health care I need.
        We are also too young to qualify for assisted living facilities which require at least one spouse to be 55.
        I feel as if we are in the worse kind of medically induced hell that can exist on Earth.
        Most days I just do what little I can for my wife which I always feel is never close to enough.
        I pray that God takes me in my sleep so she can get the care she needs as I have a good deal of retirement saving and life insurance but don’t believe in suicide or in just leaving her and disappearing.
        I pray for all the people impacted by Satan and his many evils which plague mankind.
        Try to stick in there and ask for help when you can.
        God bless.

  2. Yes, I’m still dealing with this, when I have explained the experience of caring for my mother which has dementia/alzheimers, and how difficult it was, the only explanation I could come up with was PTSD.
    I was in constant fear if her getting out of the house, hiding knives , at which point I had to give into the fact I could no longer care for her after 5 years, I of course am not going to elaborate on the all the events of the time I cared for my mother, but It was a Extremely hard time, of constant fear, sleepless nights as she didn’t sleep for days at a time, please know I Love her and my heart breaks knowing I couldn’t continue my promise to care for her and not send her to a nursing home, it did change me, I will be dealing with this the rest of my life. Please, until you have cared for a mentally ill parent/ family member don’t judge or down play what we as caregivers go through.

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  3. I think the stress of caregiving..esp multiple persons.. can definitely trigger many different traumatic things to happen to your psyche. Or at least in my personal experience. Stay strong!! Never give up!

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  4. I did for me.

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  5. I think it helped heal me. My ptsd was off the chain before I became a caregiver.

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  6. We are still after my grandmother has passed to be with The LORD goin through caregiver mode. The programming is so imbedded. Call it what you will, it does NOT just turn off… yes the pain is there even though she isn’t suffering anymore. But we miss her, & constantly go through as if shes still here

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  7. One hundred percent

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  8. Absolutely.

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  9. I do not need a study or anyone else’s confirmation to say with complete candor that I have huge triggers now from 15 years of this ever increasingly difficult mission of caretaking my husband.

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  10. The more attached you are to the person you are caring for, yes. It is loving yet traumatizing to know and watch your loved one decline and leave your life. I believe many may have it when the Caretaking years have ended. Too busy Caretaking to think a lot about it now though.

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  11. NO! This is a part of life that people have been dealing with from the beginning of time. Its tough, ugly, and horrible and can affect us greatly, but its not the same as combat!

    Taking care of my Mum does not make me a victim or wanting of sympathy or crutches from strangers. Even for soldiers, this entire PTSD thing is overblown bullshit!

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    • Totally disagree with you

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    • I think people confuse symptoms of depression with PTSD..

      Depression is perfectly normal for us to get and we all get it, but its not PTSD.

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    • Have you ever worked as a caregiver?

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    • That might not be YOUR experience but who are you to speak for other peoples experience?

      PTSD is not limited to combat. It’s related to trauma. Unless you’ve walked in the shoes of someone dealing with a terminally ill child you don’t know their life so don’t judge their stress or trauma.

      Reply
    • Andrea Halverson Caregiver is another “Label” I cant stand.

      Yes, 24/7/365 alone and still going.

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    • Susan Brooks Look for the words “from those that TRULY are afflicted” in my statement.

      I’m sorry to know you are going through such a thing.

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    • PTSD is not just a military thing. So, if I’m reading you right, a little girl assaulted by a family member cannot have PTSD because she wasn’t in the military when it happened? You need to take a class on PTSD because you are the one who is confused.

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    • in the “beginning of time” people who needed a caregiver were sent off into the wilderness to die a slow painful death, were killed by the rest of the tribe, or were simply left somewhere to die.
      Modern “caregiving” of adults is relatively modern for all but the rich who were able to afford to pay for serfs to care for their sick and elderly.
      In comparison, if you made the modern day equivalent of $100,000 or less back in 1800s, your loved one was likely going to go through hell and die rather than get decent care as you would not have been able to afford to provide the level of care we consider “minimum” now a days.
      Thank you public education for turning most people in our society into narcissistic, history ignorant, morons who couldn’t pass a high school exam from the 1940s if their lives depended upon it.
      I just pray for the rapture and God’s blessing as there seems little or no chance of society learning from its historical mistakes in this world of reality tv, screen time 24/7, and contactless-everything.
      God bless.

      Reply
  12. 1000%…even when life feels remotely stable, you’re always in crisis mode and it forever changes you as a person and the way you even view your own life.

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  13. Yes it does

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  14. Yep… been there…

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  15. Affirmative

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  16. Sad.. but true

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  17. Yes, I’m constantly on edge.

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  18. Yes that’s me for sure

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  19. Yes definitely.

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  20. Yes, I believe it

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  21. I believe so. Absolutely…

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  22. I am a CNA & HHA. We always got to be on guard.

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  23. It’s very difficult. Nothing can prepare you. When my mom was dying I had days I would break down and cry. It weighs on you physically and mentally. While you watch them wasting away you pray that God takes them to put an end to their suffering.

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  24. Love you Mary, you are a wonderful, strong women, like all the Beck girls!

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  25. I have been a carer in Aged Care for over 30 years now.My father remarried and wiped us siblings for 32 years.I was only back in his life for 3 yrs when his second wife refused to take him home from hospital.I got custody of Dad and cared for him 6 months.i attended to all his personal needs.He had dementia.I thought it would be easy after working already in Aged Care.Was i wrong.He neally took my sanity with him when he died.Toughest thing ever .So demanding 24/7.Been 2 years and ill never be the same.Went to councilling after

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  26. One word – yes!

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  27. YES! The rest of your life is changed.

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  28. Absolutely, without a doubt. I am sure I have it, have since been diagnosed with MDD and still don’t sleep

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  29. It’s probably included in a mix of so many emotions, sure.

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  30. I have cared for my Mom for 8 almost 9 years she is 94 .I got lung cancer then PTSD worrying about who will care for her if it comes back. It is hard.

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  31. Yes…27 years of caregiving…..and I have it

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  32. sounds like this might be what’s happening to me.

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    • I was just thinking about this yesterday. No question with what your life has been like for years. I’m a phone call away. Hugs and Love always

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  33. Definitely, I was caregiver for my Dad, Mom and Husband for 8 years, all have passed on, I have flashbacks of their deaths and am always wondering if there was something else I could have done for them. I felt isolated from other family members, because I gave up my career while they went on with their lives.Its a tough choice to make, I have no regrets, but I am a changed person.

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  34. I was told it’s not the same full stop but until you become a caregiver you have no idea.I sincerely believe we suffer without a question of doubt a delayed emotional and physical reaction after our loved one’s passing.The grief is ‘normal’ but these other emotions hit us hard.For me now is commitment..I will back away if I’m told that I have to be there or have to do that..I committed my life to my adored Mum for her last year’s and I have no regrets I would do it gladly again but I can’t do it for anyone else now..I am mentally exhausted..God Bless you all it’s one of our hardest journeys but I feel grateful and humbled that I was there with ourMum on her last journey ‘home’.❤️

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  35. YES! I’m a full time carer for my adult autistic daughter who is now 22. I firmly believe that I do have PTSD.

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  36. The T.V. is starting to bother me. I turn it down, but usually have to turn it off.

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  37. Definitely it can as you are sacrificing so much of yourself that is causes you to be emotional and physically drained and stressed and also yes depressed and more..yet being a caregiver can give you great moments..

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  38. My mom passed away a little over a year ago and I still have issues with hearing he phone ring. There was a lifetime of caregiving for a paranoid bipolar parent with heart problems, chrones, diabetes, panic attacks , stroke, and several other issues. My dad was an alcoholic who later got Parkinson’s disease. There was constantly a crisis . I was widowed at a young age being left behind with a 3 year old also. My husband had several heart attacks, a stroke, congestive heart failure before passing away. I still am paranoid myself if family members call expecting something to be wrong

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  39. Yes it can for sure!! I’ve been a caregiver for 40+ years now!!

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  40. There so many face of PTSD that people just don’t grasp.

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  41. I was just wondering this morning if this was what I was going through. It’s been 4 years since my husband’s diagnosis. The last thing I want to do is start taking pharmaceutical drugs. But I feel as if I’m in a wasteland. Just held together with string. I’m always tired, on the verge of tears. When I see someone I’ll put on that smile but once they are gone it’s as if I droop right back into this , i don’t know what to call it!

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    • These psychological symptoms are real, just like other medical symptoms. I strongly suggest, for your health and well-being, why you have such strong feelings against considering medication. Why is the last thing you want to do is take pharmaceuticals? If you have bias against medicine, the pharmaceutical industry or science, try to rethink your logic and reasoning. As someone who has experienced the anxiety, isolation and depression from caregiving for and losing several loved ones, including my husband, antidepressants have played a helpful role, along with therapy, towards healing .

      Reply
  42. Yes I agree…..even I am going through this….

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  43. I have no doubt and depression and financial difficulties and loneliness and bad health but someone’s gotta do it and most times it’s a privilege.

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  44. Absolutely. The hardest job of all! Stressful, frustrating, maddening, lonely, isolating.

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  45. It’s a real-time, ongoing 24/7 stressful disorder. It’s very real and friends/family do not see the toll it takes on you.

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  46. I’ll have to read this

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  47. It certainly does. I lost the rest of the family members due to my erratic behavior and emotional turmoil and outburst. They just think I am evil. They weren’t in my shoes 24/7. They didn’t realize the adjustments I couldn’t deal with after mom passed away. It’s taking me almost 2 years to become social and able to carry on a face to face conversation with others.

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  48. YES YES YES! Both of my parents passed earlier this year and I’m still dealing with the after affects. And I had it throughout their illnesses. Very hard.

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  49. Yes, absolutely. Particularly when you are having to care for the one who is directly responsible for most of your own health problems. There was an incident where he was told not to do something, but tried to anyway. The result being that I am permanently damaged and physically feel awful almost every single day, but there is no one else to step in, so I am firmly entrenched in this role. It has caused a lot of emotional turmoil. There are many days where only the bare minimum gets done due to my physical limitations and my chronic emotional distress. I have been robbed of ever having a life of my own by the very person who was supposed to love and protect me, and for whom I am now the primary caregiver. Even when being a caregiver eventually ends, I won’t ever be able to have anything that resembles a life of my own.

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  50. I think the same is true for children if they are in the house during the final years of a terminal illness – our family did a website kidcaretakers.com – we are not asking for money or donations just awareness that this issue goes beyond adults, and U.S. schools do little to help the kids who also experienced the same trauma we adults have… we’re working hard to create programs for schools in the United States but it’s a long road – the UK has over 350 organizations that help these children – the United States only has one.

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  51. It most certainly can. Hyper-alert and hyper-vigilance among some symptoms.

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  52. YES it can. And depression, burn out, anxiety, health problems. Caregivers often die sooner than those they are caring for.

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  53. Absolutely yes. In fact this kinda deserves a DUH…… it should be presented as a statement not a question as it is already a foregone conclusion . First fail I’ve seen from this website. You diminished us just by posing it as a question instead of a fact and information about it.

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  54. YES……
    Don’t let anyone tell you different.
    Long term caregiving can.
    I realised after 2 years I started to feel different.
    Noise, radio, commercials, people, crowds. Towards the end of a solid 3 years I realised it was PTSD.
    In November of last year I was walking behind a veteran at the Veterans hospital in Johnson city. When all of a sudden the Vet stopped. I realized the taping of my shoe was bothering him.
    That’s when I realized oh my goodness.
    That’s me.
    I no longer listen to the radio loud I hate being around children especially if they’re laughing and screaming I hate being answered questions cuz that’s all I had to do is answer questions about my mom I don’t like being in warm places I feel like the EB jeebies are coming over me so then I realized caregiving make you so awareif the littlest noise. You then become sensitive.
    After 5 months of my mother in a nursing home I had realized it was getting better. Now that she is gone and I don’t have to answer any more questions, sit with her, it’s has gotten better.
    Until that one noise happens then it’s back.
    The best thing for me is to shut my phone down at night. So no little noises disturb me.
    That helps.
    It’s amazing. Truly amazing.
    Blessings to all Caregivers.

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    • Yes! Exactly! Thank you for this! Many similarities to how I have also been altered by caregiving.

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    • It takes time Janie St Charles
      Allot of talking to myself.
      Build up my spirits again.

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  55. I’m guessing it could. I can understand why too.

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  56. I read a book about caregiver induced PTSD.

    So yes we can get PTSD.

    I get horrific nightmares, I’m always on guard, and I’m always tense. All symptoms of PTSD.

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  57. I think it does i take care of my husband and work in a nursing home.

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  58. Yes it can and YES it DOES

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  59. I believe Caregiving long term can cause depression and in some situations PTSD. Your always on guard. Your own life is on hold. You sacrifice a big part of yourself while being a caregiver. I know as I’ve been a caregiver first to my mom now to my dad for 10 yrs. When my dad passes not sure how I will adjust to my new life.

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    • Understand as I lost my Dad a year ago at 96. Need to find something else to fill my time now!

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    • I was just wondering this morning if this was what I was going through. It’s been 4 years since my husband’s diagnosis. The last thing I want to do is start taking pharmaceutical drugs. But I feel as if I’m in a wasteland. Just held together with string.

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    • I cared for both parents for 11 years.i was exhausted.when bith died I was at a loss as to what to do.it took quite a long time to get to where I’m at now. I wish i had things like the internet.or to have had time to see someone to help me through it. But i made it.and would do it again for them.labor of love

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    • Beenn there. Parents have passes. Depression is a big part of my life now. I gave up my life as I knew it, to care for.my parenys around the clock. Now i cant find job making tbe salary i did 8 years ago. Very sad.

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  60. Yes ,The care provided to Others,caring for our family and not Caring for Our Own Mental and Physical Health.

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  61. Yes! The anxiety every time you leave the house. The constant “vigil” 24/7. The emotional and the physical demands are non-stop. Some days I cry all day and don’t understand why. I have definitely changed from before the accident and becoming a full time caregiver to quadriplegic fiancé. Yes the work is hard and it matters but who knew it would affect me like this?

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  62. Caregiving for a loved one is traumatic for you as well as them and is a constant emergency, that you as the caregiver has to deal with. You are the nurse, physical therapist, housekeeper, cook, driver, emotional therapist, accountant, personal shopper etc…. all on little to no sleep and time off of any kind because you are likely doing it all alone, then add in those emergencies that can and do happen everyday, all while watching your loved one slowly die and are unable to stop it and people wonder why you have PTSD and are never the same again.

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  63. I don’t even have to read this to know it’s possible. I’m there.

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  64. Absolutely —-no doubt about it.

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  65. Yes it can. I’m living proof. 🙁

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  66. Oh yes I am sooo shell-shocked from watching my son almost die and 5 years of coping with the horrible destructive behaviors and knowing that most likely the day will come when I have to watch him almost die again and save his life again, and again, and sooner or later I will not get to be there to save him.

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  67. I totally think so. Unfortunately. It’s very possible

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  68. Yes & I told a VA emergency # support person that very thing in 2014!
    PTSD can affect caregivers, too!

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  69. Yes, it changes you!

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    • Yes, it changes you and you lose “friends” and family.
      It is sometimes easier to be isolated than deal with people who don’t understand.

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  70. Wow Becky Groft Topliff…I had no idea!

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  71. Yes but I did not realize it until after the death of my husband. I now can’t be gone away from home for very long although no need to be home anymore. I feel like something “bad” is going to happen if I don’t get home. The lack of sleep or sleeping with one eye closed and one ear on alert doesn’t seem to end after the caregiving did. PTSD.

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    • No, it doesn’t end. I have this feeling all the time, like I forgot to do something. It is horrible. I cry without warning. Sleep is elusive. I also have trouble leaving the house. Extreme anxiety starts the day before….so unnerving. Sadness overwhelms me when I talk or think of my future. I’m 53 and I just want my boy back, not a future without him. I totally understand.

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    • I thought it was just me ! Thank you !

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  72. I have a whole bunch of mental illness from working with elderly people

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  73. YES!!! I was my mom’s Full time Caregiver till she died 2 years later.

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  74. It’s the constant noise, movement. Working 168 hours a week will do it to you.

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    • So true , I’m about ready to lose my mind , everyone of her kids claim they love her so much but I have to beg to get a break

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    • Thank you , I do my best , but it’s hard , I really don’t know how long I will be able to keep it up , I feel like the stress is taking away what time I have left in this world ,

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    • That’s why I put my Mother in a home. I couldn’t do it any longer. It was killing me. Agreed before my time.
      It’s okay. I truly have been blessed. I went to support groups.

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    • So did I, Diane Laadyhawk Bobinski. I knew when I was fried.

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  75. I KNOW it does cuz that’s what they diagnosed me for . If your family member has a severe mental illness with psychotic episodes….. it’s almost a given.

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  76. Yep. It’s called secondary PTSD.

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  77. My dad has been gone almost 21 years. I still sit straight up in the middle of night, as though he is hollering for something.

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    • Also, my mom is in assisted living now, after taking care of her for seven years. I’m on edge every time the phone rings, because it’s often a call from her full of dementia-crazy.

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    • Yes, I totally understand. Same here with my dad. Hugs!

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  78. I think it does cause PTSD…Not the caregiving…but the sadistic, selfish family members who never help, and that can’t cope or deal with a crisis.

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    • YES! The family members that just don’t care.
      I’ve stopped working over 20yrs ago to be a full time unpaid caregiver to my parents. My dad has leukemia and my mom is stage 3 Alzheimers.
      My parents deadbeat grown grandsons don’t call or visit their only living grandparents.
      It’s so sad when they don’t come or call during the holidays .
      I was treated for caregiver depression for over three years.

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  79. YES! Any of these so called Caregiver experts are more than welcome to walk in our shoes for a while to get experience.

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  80. PTSD Can and sadly does effect anyone. I know as I have it..

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  81. High stress levels, not enough rest, sometimes not enough nutrition…You kind of lose yourself in the care of others and then get told by people who don’t understand any of it or think it can’t be that hard to take better care of yourself. That is the basics of PTSD…Alienation, isolation, guilt, mix of emotions and misunderstood. It’s like we are at DEFCON 2 all the time (sometimes DEFCON 1, nuclear attack is imminent) while everyone else is happily maintaining DEFCON 4 or 5.

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  82. Yes. I too care of my husband and helped take care of my mom. Then later on helped take care if my dad. Now I work in a nursing home. Its not easy. You do get bonds with the residents. And liss of family members. Or a loved one you find had pased away and laying on the floor. And had just taked to him the day before.

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  83. Definitely. My grandmother had a late stage cancer and my mother and I were her caregivers. I would stay home with her during the day while my mother worked and I’d work nights. The last time she was with me alone she puked up a large amount of blood right after the hospice nurses left. I called an ambulance and went with her alone to the hospital where we waited together in a hallway for a bed to open. I remember standing there helpless and terrified with her until my family arrived. She made it into a bed and stayed a day before she died there. But, that whole incident really affected me. I would wake up having dreams where I’d relive it and her dying. And after that, when I had to go back into a hospital I would end up in tears and have panic attacks. That fear would come back so quickly. Nobody in my family understood just how much all of it affected me. It took me a good seven years and therapy to work through.

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    • I hear you Chris!! God Bless!! ❤️

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    • Yup. It’s like walking someone up to the edge of the volcano so they can jump in. Somehow you get a little molten hot lava on yourself and it takes a long time to get it off.

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    • 2017 will make *19* years that I’ve been my mom’s full-time care-giver. She’s a traumatic brain injury and breast cancer survivor. I have major panic and anxiety attacks if I even visit someone in a hospital! Even going to a simple doctors appointment for myself sucks the life out of me. So I definitely understand.

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  84. Yes. After 7 years as a caregiver to my husband before he died in October they say I have it from always being on alert. He dialyzed at home. Went blind. Then had extractions and amputations.

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  85. Of course. Caregiving should be a branch of the military.

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  86. I am one of 10 siblings. My mom and I were not close. She was abusive to me. I left home for many years. The Lord knew it was time to be in her life. After about 20 years I found my family again. Mom needed help and my other siblings wanted to put her in a home. I talked her into moving into my home. I cared for her for the last 4 years of her life. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through but it was such a blessing. We forgave each other and our bond as mother and daughter was the greatest. I am so grateful for God’s gift my Mom…

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  87. TOTALLY! The phone rings and my heart goes into my throat. I hate it so much.

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  88. I guess that’s what I could call what I’m approaching if I don’t get some relief every once in awhile

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  89. Yes, most certainly.

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  90. Yes I believe this….you never get over the time you spent caring for a loved one…

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  91. PTSD caring for 2 adopted special needs children for 10 yrs has turned me into someone I sometimes don’t recognize. I haven’t been diagnosed but certainly feel like something is wrong with me. Having panic attacks…love to drive…can’t focus to drive anymore.

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  92. I was just wondering about ptsd this morning

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  93. Yes!! I got it when my father was terminal,Lost my job due to my own Back injury & Divorced,lost my Best Friend all in the same year!! 16 year’s I’ve Been taking care of my mother who has Alzheimer’s! Yes it Does Happen more than people know along with Anxiety & Panic Attacks! But… unless you walked in Those shoes people just Don’t understand it like… family,Friends etc…

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  94. Yes. Crippling, life altering, and most of us will never be the same.

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  95. ” YES ”
    Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t happen. What made me realize is I love music. I would play it all day long. Especially in my car. Lately I drive with no music.
    The littlest nose gets me.
    I have been a 24/7 caregiver only for 3 years. Can you imaging people who’ve don’t it longer.
    I am learning to accept certain noises again. It’s hard.

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    • Music does help, but not w/too much chaos going on. Hard to get a moment of peace.

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    • Yes. It’s taken me two months just to settle. Still having trouble with constant noises. Especially people talking.

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  96. Allot of it has to do with the medical community and how we live on their time. Need med called in? You’ll have to wait for them to do it if they do at all!!! That’s what pisses me off!!

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  97. And my memories close. I can tell stories and smile after awhile because the pain has been replaced with great graditude for allowing me to be a part of their lives. I have been so blessed over the years.

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  98. Yes. A caregiver grows to love the people we take care of as family. The pain and heart ache is very hard to handle. And it does not get easier as some people a say. Been a caregiver for the mentally and physically disabled for 30 years and have dealt with hospice and end of life too many times to count. Each one hurts just as mjuch. The emotional bond I have with each one is special. I would not trade it for anything in the world. I have to tell myself that there are so many more that need our love. I keep my pics am

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  99. You live in constant vigilancce, and it happens rather quickly…I know…brain aneurysm in 1999…and giving back to mom throughout her illness, through her last breaths…

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  100. Always waiting for other shoe to drop. Always on high alert.

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    • This is the biggest issue I struggle with.

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  101. YES. My mother died almost 5 years ago and after caring for her for 14 years and all the fuss and interference from the family I was diagnosed with PTSD.

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  102. Definitely! Hardest battle in life ever!

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  103. I have heard it happening with other caregivers. I probably have it myself.

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    • I’ve been a cna for 10 years and was told I have ptsd…I function and have a happy life but there’s days I can barely leave my house

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    • I took care of my father in law 13 yrs ago when he had cancer. Now my mom has dementia and there are days, like Dr appointments that takes everything out of me.

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  104. I already had it before my husband became terminally ill, and now my PTSD has gotten worse.

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  105. Oh yes… C-PTSD is alive and well at my house 🙁

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  106. absolutely….every time there’s any kind of emergency…large or small…

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    • i still have flashbacks of rehab and hospital stays…

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  107. My mother has Alzheimer’s and one thing I have noticed is it affects her ability to control impulses.
    She has always had a mean streak but it has become so much more pronounced now that she doesn’t control her impulses.
    We have even caught her trying to poison my husband.
    It’s as if she is a child again.
    Thinking back on it, I remember being mean, self centered, and spiteful as a child. wishing bubba would get hurt because he hurt my feelings or wanting to pull some harmful prank just because I thought it would be funny.
    My husband reminds me every day that mom has a disease. And he is right in so many ways.
    “Could you hate your mom for having cancer?”, He’ll ask.
    “Would you stop her from getting chemo?”, Is another one he’ll ask.
    We have made a decision to keep mom as long as possible. But we have also come to realize there will be a day when we are going to have to accept that moms disease is beyond our ability to handle.
    That will be a day of mixed emotions. Jubilation for the return of our lives, grief for HER loss, and guilt for our happiness at our newly regained freedom.
    No matter the cost, no matter the burden, no matter our desires, mom has a disease.
    We will do our best and hope that we can take solace the rest of our lives knowing we did our best.

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  108. I believe it can. When you are a family caregiver especially. I know paid professional caregivers do too. How can you not let your heart get involved ? Sometimes the feeling of helplessness takes over.
    I know God is taking care of everything. However, sometimes He needs skin on. I know I can’t expect there to always be someone there. I don’t.
    I totally understand how a dog helps these soldiers with PTSD. I’m not saying I have PTSD. I do know Oz has helped me so much. In the time he has been with us. God sure did show His favor on us with that boy. I am thankful for him.

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