In the beginning, most people struggling with mental illnesses fail to accept the fact that they have a problem, which creates a lot of hurdles for them when it comes to walking on the road to recovery. Recovering from a mental illness is way too different when compared to physical problems, wherein the patient in question knows it well, what kind of steps they need to take to live a healthy and active life.
For example, if you injure your knee or shoulder for that matter, you know it that you need to consult a doctor and follow their instructions to relieve your pain and restore function. However, when a person struggles with a condition like a drug or alcohol addiction, they fail to realise that they have a problem. And even if they come to know that, they have a problem that needs immediate medical support they feel embarrassed to discuss it with anyone including their loved ones.
So, before we discuss how to deal with mental illnesses, let’s talk about a couple of them which affect a person’s life in a big way.
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and pica are complex mental illnesses that affect a person’s life in several ways. Characterised by abnormal eating habits, these mental conditions generally stem from a person’s obsession to lose weight for maintaining a perfect body.
People with anorexia nervosa find themselves overweight, even if the reality is far from that, and hence, they start restricting the consumption of certain foods, which they believe can increase their weight. Their obsession to reduce weight forces them to starve themselves, which increases the risk of a wide range of health conditions. These people try to stay away from social and family gathering to avoid food.
Yes, if food is a part of any social, family, and official event, then people with anorexia nervosa try their level best to avoid such situations. Just because they do not want others to know how they feel about their body weight, they usually prefer to spend their time alone in their rooms.
On the other hand, people with bulimia nervosa consume excessive food in a short period, and this behaviour is generally followed by purging. This condition usually begins in adolescence and is more common among women than men. It is a mental illness where a person loses their ability to prevent the consumption of excessively large amounts of food frequently.
Since after a binge-eating episode a person generally indulges in weird behaviour like performing hard exercises at the gym, purging, and fasting, they often tend to hide it from others.
Alcohol addiction is one of the most common mental illnesses that affect a wide range of people in the UK. Characterised by excessive consumption of alcohol, it’s a problem that can affect people of all ages and cultures.
According to The Telegraph, “Governments should raise the price of alcohol and restrict its availability in a bid to reduce harmful drinking, the World Health Organization has said.”
Alcohol is a kind of addictive beverage that everyone drinks openly in social and family events; so people generally fail to draw the line when it comes to restricting the amount they should consume for healthy living. Most people, who form the habit of drinking alcohol regularly, end up getting addicted to with the passage of time. Alcohol affects the smooth functioning of the brain which plays a crucial role in the way people behave.
Drug addiction is also a mental problem that affects an addicts personal as well as professional life like anything. It not only ruins their relationships with their loved ones, friends, colleagues, and relatives but also affects their careers.
According to a report published in The Guardian, “The latest report by the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System reveals that in 2016-17 some 279,793 people were in contact with drug and alcohol services in England. Just over half were opiate users.”
Apart from the above problems, work addiction is also increasing among people in the UK. It’s a kind of condition where people work hard to achieve success in their careers.
According to Charter Harley Street, “Although many work addicts benefit financially from their constant striving and investment at work, it is a self-defeating pattern of coping where the individual is so involved with being ‘in control’ that they become emotionally isolated. They experience adrenaline highs and severe angry and depressed lows. Often a work addict will form a one-dimensional world of work.”
Here’s How To Deal With A Loved One With Mental Illness
Talk About Their Problem
Whether your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, alcohol addiction, work addiction or an eating disorder, the first thing that you should do is approach them as a friend to discuss their problem. Whether it’s your daughter, son or spouse, it’s your responsibility to deal with them in a friendly way; otherwise, they won’t rely on you.
Try to explain it to your loved one that they have a mental problem, and they need professional help to deal with it.
Convince Them To Seek Treatment
Seeking quality treatment at the right time can bring a world of difference in your loved one’s mental wellbeing. Ask your loved one to go for behavioural therapies to get rid of their problem.
For example, if your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, they can seek therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and medical nutrition therapy, etc.
On the other hand, if they are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, they can seek therapies like contingency management intervention, motivational enhancement therapy, 12-step facilitation therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy.
Stay Positive & Give Them Hope
Staying positive is utterly essential for you when your loved one is struggling from a mental illness. If you stay positive, you can help your loved one in several ways. One of the best ways to help them is to give them hope and make them believe that they can deal with their condition swiftly.
While talking to them, you can use statements like, ” You are a brave person, and you can deal with this problem easily” or ” This disorder is quite common, and I am sure, you will recover from it fast.”
When they hear such statements, it improves their self-confidence, and they start believing that they can deal with it effectively. In short, ask them to stay positive because that helps a lot.