Psychology Melbourne Blog

News and Insights from the Science of the Mind

Carer Burnout

By Rebecca Carlson,

carer burnout

Caring for a loved one struggling with physical or mental illness can be taxing. Often we put our own needs aside, while we focus instead on a loved one who is in pain or unwell.

Unfortunately too often we overlook the fact that this has physical and mental consequences for ourselves.

It is so easy to see what the other needs … what will help them, or what will put their mind at ease. 

And It is all too easy to justify making the time to provide these things for someone else.

It is much harder to see what we need for ourselves, and much harder again to take the necessary action to ensure our own needs are met.

When carers consistently put others ahead of themselves, they can experience carer burnout.

This can lead to a range of symptoms including depleted immune system, disrupted sleep, increased feelings of irritability, guilt, worry or helplessness, exhaustion, changes in appetite or weight, or social withdrawal. These symptoms can be problematic, and it is important that they are managed. If you or someone else is struggling with carer burnout, speak to an experienced professional who can help.

About the author, Rebecca Carlson

Rebecca Carlson is a registered psychologist and has been involved in research surrounding ovarian cancer.  Learn more about Melbourne psychologist Rebecca Carlson.