Help for Addiction and Mental Illness
Stigma and misunderstanding continue to surround addiction and mental illness. The harmful idea that these conditions stem from personal weakness or a lack of morality has prevented many people from getting treatment. The fact is that addiction is a chronic disease, and the presence of a co-occurring condition like depression can make it worse. However, these illnesses are treatable, allowing people to manage their symptoms and live happy, fulfilling lives. As we continue observing National Recovery Month throughout September, what can you do to encourage a loved one to seek help?
1. Provide Perspective
It’s a tragic paradox that people who would benefit the most from the counseling, compassion, structure and personal accountability found in a professional treatment facility are often the least likely to seek it. While most patients who receive a cancer diagnosis would never dream of trying to heal without medical help, that same understanding doesn’t extend to addiction and mental illness.
Many people with mental illness and substance use disorders live in a state of profound denial that prevents them from understanding how sick they are. If you see a close friend or family member repeatedly engaging in self-destructive behavior, you may want to step in and help them see they have a problem they cannot wish away or solve on their own. Use “I” statements, such as, “I am bringing this up because I care about you, and I want you to get better.”
2. Offer to Facilitate
Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression can make daily life feel overwhelming. Your friend or family member might have a genuine desire to overcome their challenges, but have no idea where to start. They may also be struggling with complex emotions like shame and worthlessness that make them believe they don’t deserve health and happiness. In that case, you can offer to do research to help them find a qualified therapist or rehab facility that meets their needs. You can also assist in other ways, such as paying for their counseling or accompanying them to appointments.
3. Be Patient
Though recovery is possible, that doesn’t mean the journey is easy. There is no quick fix for addiction and mental illness, which might feel disheartening. Have realistic expectations, and understand that your loved one may have occasional setbacks. You can show your support by being a nonjudgmental listener and making yourself available when your loved one needs a safe place to stay or someone to talk to. Check in with regular phone calls or text messages to let them know you care and have been thinking of them, or ask if they want to do something with you. They might not have the mental energy for socializing, but your invitation can make them feel less alone.
4. Take Care of Yourself, Too
Don’t neglect your needs in the process of supporting a loved one’s health. To avoid burnout, take time for self-care activities like exercising and meditating. And, if their substance abuse has affected your mental well-being, family therapy can help you rebuild damaged relationships and understand how your family dynamic can play a role in your loved one’s health issues and experiences.
The Gold Standard of Treatment for Addiction and Mental Illness
In many cases, substance abuse and mental illness occur together, which treatment professionals call a dual diagnosis. At Beach House, we provide a caring approach to starting our clients on the path toward lifelong recovery.
Our treatment philosophy stems from the belief that love and connection are the opposite of the despair and hopelessness that characterize addiction. To learn more about the qualities that have set us apart as one of the nation’s leading treatment facilities for two years in a row, please connect with our team today.