Month: January 2018

Why we need to do more to care for carers

Why we need to do more to care for carers

When one thinks of vulnerable groups, ideas spring to mind of the elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged – but what about those who provide care to these groups? Carers are not only among those most likely to suffer with mental and physical health problems, but are also among the least likely to seek help, making them a vulnerable group themselves.
However an individual becomes a carer, either as a career choice, or by chance for a loved one or family member, it often becomes a defining feature of their life. While those who care for a loved one can claim up to 35 hours’ worth of carer’s allowance a week, personal accounts often suggest that carers commit up to double this amount. Further, because of the nature of the job, it is not uncommon for carers to be less self-focused than the average person, where their main concern is often for those that they provide care for. However, in many cases this can mean that they may fail to notice problems with their own health until it becomes serious, and therefore caring is considered a high-risk profession with vulnerable group status.
Carers, as their title would suggest, are naturally caring and considerate individuals, however their tendency to put others before themselves can mean that they tend to ignore the warning signs of several health problems, both physical and mental. Their jobs are often characterised by a high degree of stress, which in turn leads to poorer immune system functioning, and higher propensity for illness and stress-related health problems. Carers are also amongst those rated to be the most underpaid and overworked, often putting in more hours than they should, especially if caring for a family member. All this combined makes carers more prone to anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues.
Being a carer can begin very young, or later on in life, but can have adverse effects on many aspects of life, including relationships, education and financial security. While this is not always the case, it is important to consider the extra pressures put on this group. According to Carers Trust UK, 45% of young adult carers reported mental health problems, while 68.8% of older carers said that caring has an adverse effect on their mental health. Young adult carers are 4x more likely to drop out of college or university than other students, with 13% owing this to financial reasons. Of course, we want to ensure that this group is not disadvantaged in this way – as if anyone is deserving of a happy and fulfilling life, it is those who dedicate themselves to caring.
It is vital, therefore, that services are in place to ensure the wellbeing of carers, who play an invaluable role in society. The survival of so many people depends on the passion and commitment of carers, who selflessly give up so much of their time and energy for others and expect little in return. One important aspect of this service should be ensuring the good mental health of carers, considering the high-risk factor for this cohort. Ensuring that carers have access to mental health services that suit them is potentially the key to solving many other issues, as it may provide the confidence they need to continue studying, help them to plan financially, or even relieve the stress that may contribute to health problems. Considering the long and often anti-social hours carers work, it is important that services are available to suit everyone’s needs – which is where new technology such as online video therapy (e.g. Dr Julian) may help, however ensuring that carers are made aware of the services out there is the first step.
One thing that is clear is that we need to give carers more credit, and do more to help them. If you know a carer, take the time to ask how they are, and if you happen to be in the position to make a carers life that little bit easier, do so. Your influence could have a huge impact on somebody’s life, and as a consequence the lives of those they care for too – so ensuring the health of a carer is also ensuring the health of others too. And, if you yourself are a carer, take time to consider your own mental and physical health today. There are plenty of services available to carers if you have the time to search for them, and new technology is emerging daily which may make caring for yourself that little bit easier – such as online mental health advice and video talk therapies. Take the first step towards caring for yourself – you definitely deserve it.
To say thank you for all the work carers do for us and those that we love, we are offering a discount of 50% on all Dr Julian online therapy sessions using the code “CARE50”. This means that carers can book a video or audio call with a trusted therapist at a time of their convenience, through their smartphone or tablet, for as little as £30 an hour.

Source: Dr julian

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Have You Hit Your Head? Here's What You Must Do Next

Head injuries can be life-changing and can result in fatalities. It’s quite common for people to take little to no action after they hit their head and there are a few reasons for this. First, it’s possible that you don’t actually know you have hit your head. This is quite common in cases of a slip or fall. Due to other aches and pains throughout the body a head injury is often missed. Alternatively, it’s possible that you underestimate how severe the bump was.

Unfortunately head injuries can lead to various problems including concussion, compression and brain hemorrhages. For this reason, it’s always important to take a few vital steps.


Check For Wounds

Do check for wounds and cuts if you have hit your head. This will typically occur if you have hit your head on a sharp surface or corner such as a door frame. Generally, the skull is firm so any cuts will only be skin deep however this is not always the case. It’s quite possible that the cut could be severe enough that this alone requires medical attention.


Clean Any Cuts And Put Light Pressure To Stop Bleeding

If you do find a cut, make sure that it is cleaned. This can be completed with warm water however it may also be beneficial to use a form of antiseptic. This will prevent the wound from being infected. It may be necessary to cut away some of the hair to make sure that the wound can be treated correctly. If you don’t do this, it’s quite possible that a doctor or nurse will take this action.

Once you have cleaned the cut make sure that you do apply light pressure on it to slow or stop the bleeding. Head injuries often bleed quite a lot to the point where blood can be trickling down your face. This can be worrying but it is quite common. When you speak to a doctor they will tell you there is no reason to be alarmed unless you have lost more than a volume of blood that would be enough to fill a typically sized cup.

Remember, it is crucial that you do not fall asleep for several hours after a head injury. If you are suffering from a concussion you might have difficulty waking up again.


Always Get Seen By A Doctor

Do make sure that you always contact or see a doctor immediately after a head injury. There are various reasons for this. First, you might be eager to recover personal injury compensation and this is far easier if you have the support of a doctor as well as a medical report on the incident. Second, head injuries can be deceptive. You might miss the signs of a serious issue that a doctor would have seen such as clear fluid leaking from your ear.


Monitor The Situation For Several Weeks

Last but not least, remember that a head injury must be monitored for several weeks. It’s not uncommon for symptoms and signs of something more serious to present themselves days or even weeks later. If you do notice any changes in your behavior or physical ability, it’s important to contact a doctor as soon as possible.


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You May Not Be Able To Care For A Terminally-Ill Relative On Your Own

You May Not Be Able To Care For A Terminally-Ill Relative On Your Own

Every day thousands of people on the planet receive a devastating diagnostic. They have a terminal illness. For those who can comprehend the diagnostic, the road from fear to acceptance is a long journey. But there is no doubt that for their family, the situation can be equally devastating. That’s why it may not be a good idea to look after your terminally-ill relative if you’re not a professional carer. While relatives do an amazing job caring for their loved ones and our system would collapse without this support, becoming a carer for a relative who is in the process of departing the world can have lasting consequences for the both of you.
A carer’s allowance isn’t enough to maintain your lifestyle and your mental health
You need both the skills and the equipment
Terminally-ill patients can need specialist care. It’s fair to say that if you have no medical background, you could struggle with certain aspects, from keeping their medical treatment on track to helping them with everyday gestures. Additionally, as the body weakens, people might experience further health complaints that could be challenging if you are not a trained nurse. Elderly relatives, especially, can require professional hospice care services, which you’ll find tricky to reproduce in a standard residential bedroom. Finally, it’s fair to say that experience and knowledge can help you relative enjoy a comfortable end of life.
You also need to carry on with your life
Becoming a full-time carer is a selfless act of love. However, it can put your family in financial difficulties, as untrained carers do not receive full pay. Instead, you can apply for a carer’s allowance, which is not sufficient to maintain your lifestyle standards. As a result, the consensus is not to give up your job to become an unpaid carer, as you’ll find that your generosity is not rewarded by modern society.
It’s emotionally straining
Ultimately, professional carers are trained to deal with the emotions that surround the death of an individual. As an unpaid carer, you don’t receive that kind of training. You are left to your own device, trying to deal with the imminent departure of a loved one. It’s no secret that most people who choose to care a terminally-ill relative will experience depression at some point during or after their caring journey. Your mood is low, and nothing interests you anymore. You might even ask yourself what is the point of your efforts as you can’t stop your relative from dying, which inevitably leads to a feeling of guilt and inappropriateness.
How do you go back to normal after?
Last, but not least, there is no successful recipe to help you go back to work once the caring is over. While the NHS in the UK recommends the best approach to approach to apply for additional benefits as you’re looking for a position, it can be daunting to sit in an office after you’ve followed a relative through their last days. Besides, your skills may not be relevant anymore, depending on the duration of your unpair carer career. Training, unfortunately, doesn’t come for free.
Losing someone you love is heartbreaking. It’s sometimes worth asking yourself if the best way to deal with the terminal disease of a relative is to put your career, future and mental health at risk. Maybe you could help just by visiting them and loving them the way you always have.

Source: Dr julian

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5 Common Misconceptions Surrounding Anxiety Disorders

5 Common Misconceptions Surrounding Anxiety Disorders

As someone who has suffered from anxiety for several years, it is hard not to feel hurt or belittled by what others have to say about it. Regardless of whether or not you are open to strangers about your mental health experiences, it is often a topic of conversation that is difficult to avoid – however what people may not realise is that sweeping statements and misconceptions surrounding mental health can be damaging to individuals who are suffering. In a bid to encourage openness and understanding of anxiety, we have compiled 5 of the most common and incorrect misconceptions surrounding this disorder.
Individuals with anxiety are “nervous-wrecks” or “worriers” etc
The most common misconception regarding anxiety disorders is that individuals who suffer from anxiety are just generally more prone to worrying, or are generally of a nervous disposition, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Individuals with anxiety are just as likely to be extroverted, laid-back and fun-loving as the average person. Despite common opinion, there is a huge difference between worrying and experiencing anxiety and/or panic attacks. Anxiety can strike at any time to anyone, regardless of personality or disposition, and often has little to do with a tendency to worry, and more to do with factors outside of the individual’s control. Branding anxiety disorders as a personality defect not only belittles people who may be suffering, but perpetuates an incorrect and offensive stereotype.
Anxiety always has a known cause
If you have ever experienced anxiety, you have likely been asked “Why?” more times than you can count. And, while this question likely comes from a good place, in fact, having someone ask you why you are feeling anxious is not only completely pointless in most cases, but also quite frustrating. While yes, sometimes people can identify what has caused a specific anxious period, more often than not there is no obvious answer. The truth is, people experience anxiety for a variety of reasons, and these are not always things that they are consciously aware of. Although it might seem automatic to ask “Why?” a more appropriate response may be “Is there anything I can do?” – Because quite often we don’t know why, and we wish we did.
Anxiety only affects women
It’s unclear why, but this one is more common than you might think. Despite recent emphasis on encouraging men to be more open about mental health, anxiety is still something which is categorically considered a feminine disorder. This is simply not the case, and can be detrimental to those who identify as male and think they may be suffering from anxiety, as it may discourage them to seek help. Similarly, this belief can affect females too, in that it can lead to unsubstantiated and harmful arguments that anxiety is ‘just hormones’ or a ‘typical female reaction’, which may also stop people from seeking help.
Having anxiety isn’t a big deal
Strangely, people have a tendency to rank mental health problems in terms of seriousness, with anxiety falling at the bottom of this scale as “not a big deal”. Unfortunately, all mental health problems can be a big deal if left untreated or avoided, much like any physical problem, and the attitude that it is “just anxiety” is one which can be very harmful long term. Luckily however, much as with physical health problems, with the right help and advice most mental health issues can be managed effectively. For someone suffering with anxiety, my advice would be to seek help before it becomes a big deal, but just to be clear – anxiety is not something which should be taken lightly, or mocked.
Anxiety is not that common
Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems, and affect 1 in 4 people. Feelings of anxiety are thought to be caused by an overactive fight or flight response – something which we all have at times – meaning that no one is guaranteed to be exempt from periods of unwarranted anxiety or panic, and most people have experienced something similar. Feeling anxious is completely natural in many situations, such as before an important interview or exam, and from an evolutionary perspective serves an important function in helping us prepare to respond to danger. However, if it becomes a common (or even daily) occurrence, or begins to significantly interfere with your life, it may be time to seek help.

Source: Dr julian

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