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Supporting a Loved One With a Mental Illness

Supporting a Loved One With a Mental Illness

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We know it may feel overwhelming to learn that someone you love has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The good news is that you and your loved one have options available. Most mental health disorders are treatable.

This journey might seem frightening, but there are some steps you can take to make things easier for you and your loved ones. If you’re currently supporting a loved one with a mental illness, the first step is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Then, you are able to help them find the best mental health treatment possible for their needs.

What Are Mental Health Disorders?

A mental health disorder is a condition that impacts someone’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. There is still a lot of stigma around mental illnesses, but in reality, they are more common than you might realize. According to recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as much as 50% of the US population will experience a mental illness during their lifetimes.

Some well-known types of mental illnesses include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders

Even though mental health disorders can sometimes be hard to see or touch, that doesn’t make them any less real than diseases. And just like physical disorders, mental illnesses require treatment to see improvement. However, depending on your loved one’s view of mental health and therapy, they may initially be reluctant to admit they have a problem. Or they might be unwilling to pursue treatment. The best thing you can do is be there for them and encourage them to seek out help.

Support a Loved One with a Mental Illness is Different for Everyone

If you’re supporting a loved one with a mental illness, you should recognize that the path toward recovery is different for every person. No two people will react the same to treatment, even if they have similar diagnoses.

Many, but not all, people who have a mental illness will also abuse alcohol or drugs as a form of self-medication. In these cases, the substance abuse feeds into poor mental health, which typically further increases the dependence on the addictive substance.

Because of these variations, treatment plans will vary for every person. That’s why it’s important to have a cross-functional team that can effectively diagnose and treat every aspect of your loved one’s condition.

There May Never Be a Cure — But There Are Treatments

Treating a mental illness is an ongoing process. Occasionally, there may be setbacks. Treatment plans often change over time, but your loved one may never be “cured” of their disease. However, many people with mental illnesses live healthy, fulfilling lives once they’ve begun regular therapy and/or medications.

Take Care of Your Health at Encore Health Group

You want to support the person you love, but being a caregiver can take a toll on your health, too. Don’t neglect your care. Find a friend you trust who you can confide in about the difficulties you’re going through. There are also many support groups available for those who are supporting a loved one with a mental illness. These groups give you a chance to share your struggles and your successes with people who understand what you are going through. Encore Outpatient Services offers treatment programs that take into account the needs of the entire family for this very reason.

Supporting a loved one with a mental illness can feel stressful and uncertain, but the good news is you don’t have to travel this path alone. The trained staff at Encore Health Group are ready to help your loved one devise an individualized treatment plan that’s right for them. Contact Encore Health Group to speak to someone from our team today.