Watching your adult child with mental illness can take a toll on you emotionally and mentally. You want to find the best help for them, but you also want to see them success on their own.
Unfortunately, mental illness significantly impacts millions of adults globally, with far-reaching effects on individuals and their families. The World Health Organization reports that one in four people will experience mental disorders at some point in their lives. Currently, around 450 million people worldwide are living with such conditions. These staggering statistics highlight the importance of understanding and addressing mental health issues effectively.
We’ve put together a guide on supporting your adult child with mental illness so you can effectively help them get the treatment they need. If you need help at this moment, don’t hesitate to call us now at 678-974-0576
Getting Help for Your Adult Child
Recognizing the signs of mental illness and taking the initial steps towards getting help are critical. It’s essential to approach the subject with sensitivity and support, acknowledging the difficulties your adult child might be facing.
Recognizing the signs that your adult child may need mental health help is crucial for providing timely and appropriate support. Mental health issues can manifest in various ways, and being aware of these signs can help you identify when to encourage your adult child to seek professional assistance. Here are some key indicators to watch for:
- Changes in Mood or Behavior: Sudden or significant changes in mood, such as increased irritability, persistent sadness, or mood swings, can be indicative of mental health issues.
- Withdrawal from Social Activities: If your adult child starts to withdraw from friends, family, or activities they once enjoyed, it could be a sign of depression or another mental health condition.
- Changes in Sleeping or Eating Habits: Noticeable changes in sleeping patterns, such as sleeping too much or too little, or changes in eating habits, including significant weight gain or loss, can be symptoms of mental health issues.
- Substance Abuse: An increase in the use of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication can be a coping mechanism for mental health issues.
- Expressions of Hopelessness or Worthlessness: Frequent expressions of negative thoughts, hopelessness, or feelings of worthlessness are concerning signs that should be taken seriously.
- Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms like unexplained aches and pains, headaches, or stomach issues can sometimes be linked to mental health conditions.
- Anxiety or Excessive Worrying: Persistent or excessive worrying, feeling on edge, or experiencing anxiety attacks can indicate an anxiety disorder.
- Loss of Interest in Daily Activities: A lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities, which can extend to personal hygiene and self-care, is a common sign of depression.
- Talking About Death or Suicide: Any talk about death, dying, or suicide should be taken very seriously as it can be a sign of severe depression or suicidal ideation.
How to Help Your Adult Child with Mental Illness
Helping an adult child with mental illness involves a combination of understanding, support, and accessing the right resources. It’s a process that requires patience, empathy, and often, education about mental health. Here are some steps you can take to effectively assist your adult child:
Understand Mental Health Treatment Options
Learning about the various treatment options available for mental health is crucial in understanding how to best support someone dealing with mental health issues. These treatments can range from therapy and medication to more structured programs like outpatient treatment. Here’s an overview:
Therapy, or psychotherapy, involves talking with a mental health professional about one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can help individuals understand themselves better, cope with daily life, and address specific mental health issues. Common types of therapy include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Combines CBT with mindfulness and is often used for treating personality disorders and chronic suicidal thoughts.
- Interpersonal Therapy: Concentrates on improving personal relationships and communication skills.
- Psychodynamic Therapy: Involves exploring past experiences and emotions to understand current behavior.
Psychiatry and Medication does not cure mental illness but can help manage symptoms. It’s often used in conjunction with therapy. The type of medication prescribed depends on the specific mental health condition:
- Antidepressants: Used for depression, anxiety disorders, and sometimes for other conditions.
- Antipsychotics: Primarily used to treat psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.
- Mood Stabilizers: Commonly used for bipolar disorder.
- Anxiolytics: Designed to alleviate anxiety.
- Stimulants: Typically prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
3. Outpatient Treatment Programs
These programs allow individuals to live at home while receiving treatment. They are less intensive than inpatient programs and are suitable for those with a stable home environment. Common types include:
- Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs): These programs offer intensive care similar to that provided in inpatient treatment but allow patients to go home at night. They are ideal for individuals who need more support than regular outpatient therapy but do not require 24-hour hospitalization.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs): IOPs provide a structured therapy environment, usually requiring attendance several times a week for a few hours each day. These programs focus on therapy, education, and skill development and are suitable for individuals transitioning from inpatient care or those who require more support than traditional outpatient therapy.
Using Non-Judgmental Support
Providing nonjudgmental support to an adult child with mental health issues is a delicate yet vital aspect of their journey towards healing and recovery. This support involves creating an environment of understanding, acceptance, and empathy, without criticism or unsolicited advice. Practice active listening, which involves fully concentrating, understanding, responding, and then remembering what is being said. This shows that you value their thoughts and feelings.
In addition, avoid making judgments about their feelings, decisions, or experiences. Judgment can lead to shame, which can be detrimental to mental health. If you need to provide feedback, do so in a constructive and supportive manner, focusing on specific behaviors rather than personal characteristics.
Empower Your Adult Child
Empowering your adult child involves encouraging their independence, respecting their autonomy, and supporting them in making their own decisions about their life and treatment. This empowerment is a crucial aspect of their journey towards recovery and self-sufficiency.
Encourage your child to take an active role in decisions related to their mental health treatment, including choices about therapists, medication, and therapy types. Help them feel confident in expressing their needs and concerns, both to you and to their mental health professionals.
Encouraging treatment should be done gently and respectfully. Discuss the benefits and possibilities of different treatments, provide educational resources, but avoid pressuring them into decisions they are not comfortable with. Understand that your adult child may feel scared, confused, or even in denial about their mental health. Acknowledge these feelings and reassure them that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Emphasize that mental health issues are common and treatable, and that seeking help is a positive step towards feeling better.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself is crucial when you are supporting an adult child with mental health issues. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions, including frustration, sadness, or helplessness. Acknowledge these feelings as valid and part of the caregiving process. Understand your limits and set healthy boundaries. It’s okay to say no or to take a step back when you need to.
Mental Health Resources
When supporting an adult child with mental illness, accessing a variety of mental health resources is crucial. These resources can provide valuable information, support, and guidance. Here’s a list of types of resources that can be particularly helpful:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Offers support groups, education, and resources for individuals with mental illness and their families.
- Mental Health America (MHA): Provides information on mental health conditions and local resources.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): Offers support groups and wellness tools for individuals with depression and bipolar disorder.
- Crisis Text Line: A free, 24/7 text service for individuals in crisis (Text HOME to 741741 in the US).
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A 24/7, free, and confidential support line for people in distress (1-800-273-TALK in the US).
Find Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta Today
As we navigate the complex and often challenging journey of supporting an adult child with mental illness, it’s crucial to remember that you are not alone. Mental health is a journey that requires compassion, understanding, and collective effort. At New View Wellness, we offer outpatient mental health treatment services in Atlanta for those looking to create a new path for themselves. Call us at 678-974-0576 or verify your insurance now.