How to Find Help Treating a Mental Health Problem
PsychGuides independently researches, tests, and reviews products and services which
may benefit our readers. Where indicated by "Medically Reviewed by", Healthcare professionals review articles for
medical accuracy. If you buy something through our links, or engage with a provider, we may earn a commission.
Mental health is a serious issue in the United States and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate as much as 25 percent of the American population has some form of mental illness. If you or a loved one is dealing with the effects of a mental illness, it can be difficult to find the right information or know what to do next. Understanding mental illness in its various forms is the best way to start.
Understanding Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems take a toll not only on those directly affected, but on friends and family members as well. Thy symptoms of mental illness are often misunderstood, and a significant amount of false information and stereotypes are perpetuated about people with mental illnesses. Education is the most important step to understanding mental health problems, and the best thing loved ones of a mentally ill person can do is to learn about the nature, symptoms and treatment options of the mental illness in question.
How to Diagnose a Mental Health Problem
Diagnosing a mental health problem is a complex process and should only be attempted by a licensed professional. While it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of mental illness and encourage your loved one to seek help, making the wrong armchair diagnosis can lead to serious problems. A variety of tests are recognized by the medical community as legitimate assessments of a mental health problem.
How to Recognize a Disorder
Recognizing a mental disorder can often be difficult as many of the common symptoms of a disorder are viewed as simply being extreme personality traits. For example, the symptoms of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder might be brushed off by family members as mere vigilance and cleanliness. The emotional highs and lows experienced by people with bipolar I disorder are often confused with mood swings, particularly during adolescence. Some common mental illness symptoms include:
Don't Face This Alone. Professional Online Therapy Can Help You.
- Mood swings
- Substance abuse
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone with Mental Health Problems
When it comes to helping a loved one with mental health problems, providing them with quality information on their disorder is essential. Many mental disorders go undiagnosed because the sufferer is simply unaware their symptoms aren’t normal. They might feel the need to internalize the problems they’re having for fear others won’t understand, or they might not see the pattern of dysfunction their behavior is causing in their everyday life. It’s vital for friends and family members to speak up when they see a problem because that’s often the only way a person will realize the need for help.
While it’s important to encourage your loved one to get help, also understand healing is a process that takes time. Even when your loved one receives an official diagnosis of a mental health disorder, chances are recovery won’t happen right away. Many disorders, particularly those that have been undiagnosed for a long period of time, respond better to long-term treatment than short-term methods. Some medications take weeks to become effective, and lifestyle changes might take even longer. It’s important to understand long-term healing requires commitment and patience, and to continue giving your support even if your loved one is frustrated due to not seeing positive changes soon enough. On the other hand, if a treatment option appears not to be effective, the best thing you can do is suggest your loved one speak with his or her mental health provider.
Talking to Someone With a Disorder
When talking to a friend or loved one you believe might have a mental disorder, it’s important to reserve judgment. Let him or her know you’re there to listen and help in whatever ways you can. While it’s good to encourage your loved one to seek help for a disorder, avoid being pushy or making accusations. Many sufferers go through a stage of denial in which they refuse to admit they have a problem. This can be frustrating for the loved ones who are dealing with the effects of the illness on a daily basis, but patience and steady encouragement go a long way.
If you’d like help learning more about how to talk to your mentally ill loved one or to find out more about treatment options, call our toll-free hotline at . Our caring representatives understand the delicate nature of what you’re going through and are here to connect you to the resources you need.
Adolescents and Teens
It’s estimated at least 20 percent of teens and adolescents meet the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder. Teens who are struggling with the symptoms of a mental illness are often afraid to speak out for fear of being judged by their peers or parents. If you’re the parent of a teenager you believe is affected by a mental illness, the most important thing you can do is encourage your child to talk to you about the problem.
Many teens attempt suicide as a means of escape from the symptoms of mental illness, and suicide is the third-leading cause of death for adolescents in the United States. Everyone needs to feel as if someone is there to talk to, and keeping the issues bottled up inside will only make the symptoms of the mental illness worse.
Learning to Cope With Mental Health Issues
Learning to cope with mental health issues is difficult, but it can be done. Through a combination of medical attention and lifestyle changes, you can improve the quality of your life. While most mental illness can’t be cured permanently, the symptoms can be managed to the point where the affected individual is able to lead a normal and productive life. If your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, but you don’t know where to start, call our hotline at . Our specialists will be happy to help you take the next step towards mental health, and we’re available 24/7 to take your call.
How to Treat Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems vary from disorder to disorder, and so do treatment options. An approach that works for one person might not work for the next, even if the two share the same disorder. It’s important to work with a doctor who knows your medical history and is experienced with your particular disorder before embarking on any treatment plan. Medication is an effective way of managing the symptoms of many common mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, but you should never attempt to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
Deciding Between Possible Solutions
The best solution for the treatment of mental illness varies according to the individual’s needs and lifestyle. Treatment centers are a great option for those who are just beginning with treatment because they provide the chance to start healing in an environment free of distraction and stress. It’s important to work with a medical professional regardless of the type of solution you choose. Some prefer a holistic approach, while others take the traditional approach of medication and therapy. Still others combine a variety of treatments and lifestyle changes to create a treatment plan that’s right for them.
Where to Find Mental Health Treatment for a Friend or Family Member
Mental health problems cost an estimated $300 billion each year. The personal costs of treatment alone can be overwhelming, but options are available to everyone to make the cost more bearable. Whether you choose to pursue inpatient or residential treatment, we can help you connect to the treatment facility that’s right for you. Call our hotline at today, and let us connect you to the treatment facility and wellness options that can start you on your journey to recovery.