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Caregivers – learn to cope with life and after it too.

According to a study led by the University of Pittsburgh, there are methods which teach the caretakers of Dementia patients how to cope with depression and related emotional// problems, not only during the process of caregiving but also after the death of the patients.

Millions of American families, taking care of people suffering from Dementia, can be benefited from the findings of this study that is published in the August issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Around 4.5 million Americans suffering from Alzhiemer’s disease stay at home. 75% of them are taken care of by their relatives.

The study, initially designed to establish methods for preventing depression and increasing coping skills during the caregiving process, sought to determine who among caregivers were at risk for complicated grief and depression after their care-recipients died. Surprisingly, the interventions aimed at helping the caregiver cope while the care-recipient was living also helped the caregiver cope with the recipient's death, preventing complicated grief and depression. According to principal investigator and lead author Richard Schulz, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, the finding was totally unexpected.

Complicated grief most often occurs following the death of someone in a very close and loving relationship. Key features include a sense of disbelief regarding the death, anger and bitterness over the death, recurrent pangs of painful emotions with intense yearning and longing for the deceased, avoidance of situations and activities that are reminders of the loss, and a preoccupation with thoughts of the loved one, often including distressing, intrusive thoughts related to the death.

Since it is a newly characterized condition, not yet included in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, little is known about how to treat and prevent complicated grief. In fact, r
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