Being a family member or a friend of someone who has mental health issues can become overwhelming. How do we become involved in the healing, caring, or to stop enabling those who are being self-destructive? Where can I go to get help, what do I need to know, or how to I keep myself and family protected from someone with a mental health issue? Such a simple set of questions but to many answers can be found. I want to give some scenarios and then what can be done to help. All definitions come from Mayo Clinic’s website, http://www.mayclinic.org. Knowing firsthand how mental health concerns can cause distance between those you love and have family and friends that have mental health concerns guides me to continue to talk about the ways to help and watch for signs. Below are the definitions of six disorders.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Suicide: taking your own life, is a tragic reaction to stressful life situations — and even more tragic because suicide can be prevented. Whether you’re considering suicide or know someone who feels suicidal, learn suicide warning signs and how to reach out for immediate help and professional treatment. You may save a life — your own or someone else’s.
Bipolar disorder: Formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, you can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
Schizophrenia: A serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning and can be disabling. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment. Early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook.
Depression: Feeling sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), you may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly.
Generalized anxiety disorder: Has symptoms that are like a panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety, but they’re all different conditions. Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it occurs along with other anxiety or mood disorders. In most cases, generalized anxiety disorder improves with psychotherapy or medications. Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills and using relaxation techniques also can help.
If you or you find your friend or a family member is not being themselves, it’s best to not get upset with them. Each of us have our own issues and we need to remember this.