How to Get Help for Someone with a Mental Illness
About How to Get Help for a Family Member with Mental Health Illnesses
How to get help for a family member with mental health illnesses is a common but sometimes complex question. Mental illness is a difficult topic to discuss with others, even more so to deal with.
Though mental illness is a common issue that many Americans suffer from, it is wide-ranging in its differences, often challenging to diagnose, and a challenge to recover from.
Mental illness affects millions of Americans and has a hand in taking thousands of lives each year.
To protect safety, livelihood, and happiness, mental health education and learning how to get help for a family member with mental illness are essential.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in the US struggle with some form of mental illness.
Many mental diseases all have their symptoms, struggles, and effects on the mind and body.
However, most mental illnesses are similar because they cause unpleasant and sometimes even distressful feelings and thoughts.
The most common mental illnesses in the United States are anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dual diagnosis, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.
Though some people are more likely to experience mental illness than others, anyone can experience it.
This exposure is why education is essential; with increased education comes increased rates of treatment, therapy, and recovery.
Around 20% of adults in the United States experience mental illness, which is not much lower for adolescents.
17% of teens in the United States struggle with some form of illness as well.
Dealing with mental illness as an adult is challenging, but dealing with it as a teen brings its host of issues.
Many teens are at an extremely vulnerable period in their lives in which they are figuring out their place in society; experiencing mental illness during this time makes this process even more confusing.
No matter the age of someone experiencing a mental illness, it is vital for people to know how to get help for a family member with mental illness.
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Understanding How to Get Help for a Family Member with Mental Illness
Learning how to get someone help with mental illness is a complicated process that loved ones must approach carefully. Approaching someone about their mental health is never simple; family members need to practice care while talking to their loved ones who may be struggling. It is important to use kind language and be supportive as you approach your family member.
Talking to your family member is an opportunity to show them the guidance and support they may need. This attention improves recognition of mental health issues, earlier treatment and therapy, and more understanding and compassion for the person struggling.
It is difficult for family members to find the best words to say and questions to ask. Communicating with a person struggling with addiction is a daunting task and much be approached with caution and care. The following is a list from of helpful questions and things to ask when you are approaching a family member about their mental health:
- I’ve been worried about you lately. Can we talk about how you’re feeling? If not, is there anyone you would be comfortable talking with?
- What can I do to help you talk about this issue with other important people in your life, such as your parents, partner, or friends?
- Is there anything else I can do to help you?
- I care, and I am here to listen if you want to talk. What do you want me to know about the way you are feeling?
- Who or what has helped you resolve or deal with these feelings in the past?
- Do you know anyone else who has struggled with something similar? Talking to them might help you make sense of your feelings.
- It seems like you are having a hard time lately. How can I assist you in finding help?
- How can I help find more information about issues with mental health?
- I have concerns about your safety. Have you had thoughts about harming yourself or others?
Effects of Mental Illness
Each form of mental illness has different symptoms and effects, and every person experiences them differently. For example, the way the obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests itself in one person is sometimes completely different from another person’s obsessions. Because of these differences, relatives need to know about the common signs of mental health issues while thinking about getting help for a family member with mental illness. MedlinePlus lists the following as vital signs of a mental health problem:
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
- Withdrawal from the people and things you love.
- Having less energy than usual or no energy.
- Feelings of numbness or indifference.
- Feeling unexplained aches and pains.
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.
- Using drugs, smoking, or drinking at an increased rate.
- Unusual feelings of anger, fear, forgetfulness, worry, and nervousness.
- Experiencing severe mood swings.
- Hearing thoughts or voices that are hard to get out of your head.
- Hearing voices or believing untrue things.
- Thinking of hurting yourself or other people.
- Being unable to perform daily tasks or take care of themselves.
It is crucial to learn about these signs to increase education about mental illnesses and address them before they become severe. There are undoubtedly other signs and symptoms specific to each mental illness, but those listed above are common for all of them.
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Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder
When patients experience mental illness and a substance use disorder, they have a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnoses are more complex than mental illness or substance use alone; the symptoms of mental health issues and drug or alcohol problems often worsen when people experience them together.
If you believe someone you love experiences a mental health issue and a substance use disorder at the same time, they must receive treatment for each of these things. Treatment for both conditions is beneficial and sometimes even leads to recovery, especially when started early in the conditions’ progression.
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Treatment for How to Get Help for a Family Member with Mental Illness
Treatment for mental illness helps patients understand what they are going through, helps them identify coping mechanisms and new thought processes, and helps them reach recovery in many cases. Treatment for each mental illness looks different, and specialists for each type of mental illness exist. The one thing that each condition has in common is that treatment is almost always helpful for patients. Various types of treatment involve talk therapy, medications, exposure therapy, behavior therapy, and more.
Payment for Treatment
For many patients and families, paying for the treatment that they need to recover is stressful and makes the process more challenging.
Though treatment is one of the most practical and dependable means of recovery, it is not cheap.
If you think someone you love may have an issue with their mental health, it is essential to know how to get someone help with mental illness.
Offering your loved ones kindness and support during their difficult time is a significant first step.
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