The pressure of taking care of an elderly loved one who has a chronic illness causes stress.
And the cost of making sure your loved one is getting the best care possible can be stressful as well.
But perhaps you are the person who experiences more stress than most.
Is this because you are not “strong” enough?
As it turns out, a recent study shows that some people are more susceptible to stress.
Why some people may be more susceptible to stress
In the study I quoted above, the researchers exposed mice to a source of stress for 10 days. One group was considered “susceptible” while the other group was considered “resilient”.
After this, the scientists noticed that one group of mice avoided social interaction. And there was another group of mice kept interacting as normal.
When they looked into the brains of these mice, they found that while a group of brain cells called glial cells were normal in the mice that kept interacting, there were changes in the glial cells of the mice that avoided social interaction.
Very interestingly, it turned out the glial cells in the second mice had reduced amounts of a substance called myelin which is very important when it comes to brain cells working properly.
Caregiver stress: what does this mean for humans?
What could this research mean for humans?
While human beings and mice are vastly different, this study is important for a few reasons.
First of all, it shows us that people who have been exposed to multiple stressors over and over again are more likely to feel the effects of stress more than someone who hasn’t been through the same amount of stress.
Now, you’re probably saying “Gertrude, we knew that! That’s what’s called PTSD”.
And you would be absolutely right.
But until now, scientists did not have a biological reason to tie to PTSD.
With this research, scientists are beginning to uncover more about the biological basis for why some people get stressed easier than others.
And so, if you find yourself more stressed out as a caregiver because of a lot of previous stress, you now know that there might be a biological reason for all you’re feeling.
If this is you, continue to take care of yourself so you can take care of others and make sure you’re getting the help you need.
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