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Stress Relief for Caregivers

Caring for Someone with Panic Disorder

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Updated April 01, 2012

Photo Copyright Microsoft

Caretakers can benefit from stress management techniques.

Photo © Microsoft

It can be challenging to support a loved one with panic disorder. Being a caretaker can be stressful at times, as it requires a lot of patience, energy, and understanding. However, through empathy and support, a caretaker plays a valuable role in helping a loved one with mental illness.

If you are taking care of someone with panic disorder, you may be familiar with the many rewards and responsibilities that being a caretaker entails. In order to be the most helpful as your loved one works on recovery, it is important that you address your feelings of stress.

The following offer some tips to help relieve your stress as a caretaker.

Understand Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a mental health condition that is often misunderstood by the public and debated about among professionals who treat panic disorder. For instance, many people believe that panic attacks can be controlled and that the person is just overacting. Medical professionals often disagree about the causes and the diagnostic criteria of panic disorder. Also, many people diagnosed with panic disorder struggle with understanding their condition, sometimes labeling themselves as “crazy” or “neurotic.”

The many disagreements and myths about panic disorder have contributed to how the general population views this condition. As a caregiver, it is important that you can distinguish between fact versus fiction when it comes to panic disorder. You will benefit from understanding what symptoms to look for and behaviors to expect from your loved one with this condition. With knowledge and understanding, you will be more prepared to support your loved one.

Learn the Basics About Panic Disorder:

Spend Time on Yourself

When you are in the role of caretaker, you also need to set aside the time to take care of yourself. Many caretakers mistakenly believe that they should forgo their own needs to take care of their loved one. They may believe that it is selfish or have feelings of guilt when wanting to address their own personal needs.

The truth is that by taking care of yourself, you will be better able to take care of someone else. When your self-care needs are met, you will feel less stressed, drained, and resentful, allowing yourself to be more present and helpful for your loved one with panic disorder.

Self-care strategies involve all of the activities that you can engage in to enhance your personal health and wellness. Self-care for stress reduction encompasses the physical, emotional, spiritual, creative, and social aspects that make up your overall well-being. To begin your self-care plan, put in the effort to engage in activities and hobbies that you enjoy. Additionally, try to get adequate rest and exercise, practice relaxation techniques, get proper nutrition, and find additional social support and understanding.

Resources for self-care and stress management:

Find Additional Support

At times, you may feel alone in your role as a caretaker. However, there are many people who can relate to your struggles, successes, and complications of caring for someone with panic disorder. Finding others who can share in your experiences can help you overcome the obstacles and stress you may face as you care for a loved one with a mental illness.

If you are looking for more social support as a caretaker, consider joining the online support forum to engage with others who share similar experiences. You may also want to locate a local group in which you can discuss your situation with others who are caring for a loved one with a mental health disorder. These types of groups are often offered by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), which provides nationwide group support and other resources for family and friends affected by mental illness.

Get More Support:

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