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Caregivers and Addiction: How Caring for Others Can Create Addictive Behaviors and How to Stop Them

Being a caregiver to another person of any age is a selfless act. But caring for a child, spouse or elderly person can create an extremely stressful environment for the caregiver which is often ignored. This level of stress can sometimes lead to addictive behaviors, which when left untreated, can create health problems for the caregiver themselves. In fact, studies have repeatedly found high levels of drug abuse among caregivers.

If you or a loved one are a caregiver struggling with addiction, Tampa alcohol rehab team of Phoenix House Florida has a few insights into why caregivers struggle with addiction and how to help address addictive behaviors before they become a serious problem, as well as what to do if you are struggling with addiction of any kind.

The Conundrum of Caregiving

When you are a caregiver, the focus is often on everyone around you. This leads to caregivers’ needs or struggles going unnoticed. You may be familiar with the procedure on an airplane to put on your oxygen mask before helping others — the idea is that until you help yourself you cannot actually help those around you.

The same is true for caregivers. You must put on your “oxygen mask” so to speak and take care of yourself before you are fully able to help others. Unfortunately, for many caregivers, the act of self-care and putting on the oxygen mask takes the form of abusing alcohol or medication to de-stress. However, if you are a caregiver and struggle to find time or means to care for yourself in a healthy way, there is hope by examining your own behaviors and understanding them.

Recognize Patterns

As previously mentioned, examining your own behaviors to look for patterns is an important step. For example, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I self-medicate with alcohol or drugs after hearing bad news?
  • Do I self-medicate when I feel hopeless about my loved one’s diagnosis or state of being?
  • How often do I use drugs or alcohol?
  • Am I increasing the dosages of medications prescribed to me in order to help me cope?
  • Do I feel comfortable mixing prescription medication with alcohol?

If you have answered yes to the questions above, or notice any other patterns regarding your drug or alcohol use, it is a good idea to speak to Tampa drug and alcohol treatment centers like Phoenix House Florida to address the reasons behind your drug use. Additionally, if you feel that your alcohol use or drug use has impacted your daily life, it is important to get help as soon as possible.

Seek Help

Caregiving is a very complicated role, both physically and emotionally. If you have found yourself falling into addictive behaviors because of your role, it is crucial to get help as soon as possible so that you can live your life to its fullest. You may not think there is time to focus on your own recovery in rehab, but inpatient and outpatient help is available to fit your schedule. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and need drug and alcohol treatment centers in Tampa, help is available.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, speak with drug and alcohol treatment centers in Tampa. To schedule a consultation with Phoenix House Florida, please request an appointment today.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general educational purposes only. All content and media on the Phoenix House Florida website does not constitute professional medical advice nor is the information intended to replace the services provided by Phoenix House Florida or other qualified medical professionals. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

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At Phoenix House Florida, we have a passion for healing. If you or your loved one are in need of subtance use treatment, we are here to help. Give us a call or submit our appointment request form today.

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How Can We Help?

At Our House

For some patients, stepping away from the buzz of everyday life is the only way to make a full recovery. Inpatient treatments help patients refocus their recovery efforts to achieve positive, long-lasting outcomes.

At Your House

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. Outpatient treatment must follow a continuum of care that starts with a thorough needs assessment and ends with recovery monitoring.

The Derek Jeter Center

The Derek Jeter Center Adolescent program in Brandon, FL provides comprehensive outpatient services that help families deal with teen substance use and related mental health conditions.