Carers can experience "huge feelings of guilt" that prevent them from taking holidays, according to a charity.
A study by disability charity Vitalise found that family carers avoid taking breaks if it would mean they would have to send frail or elderly loved ones into temporary care.
The study, which collated the research conducted by various organisations over five years, shows that almost six out of ten carers (57%) felt guilty about needing to use respite care.
Carers also said they had worries about the quality of care, saying those concerns were a "significant barrier" to them taking breaks.
The study also found that seven out of ten carers felt that a break from caring, even for a few days, was "important" or "very important", and carers want more choice and control over their respite care and short breaks.
The charity warned that without holidays, a carer's own health can suffer which affects the work they do and the quality of life of both them and the person they care for.
The Scottish Government's Carer's Parliament meets for the first time in October. Pledged in the SNP's 2011 election campaign, the parliament will work to protect and improve services for carers across Scotland.
As part of its remit, an extra £2m will be invested in holiday funds for families with disabled children while an extra £14m will go towards supporting unpaid carers.