Children look to their parents to be emotionally stable and in good mental health, but this isn’t always the case. Whether the child is still underage or an adult, it can be disconcerting to have a parent who struggles with a mental health disorder. Do you want to know how to deal with a parent with mental illness? If so, New View Wellness in Atlanta can assist you in learning how to help your mother or father. We offer recommendations for dealing with them prior to treatment as well as options for getting them the effective mental health care they need.
What Types of Mental Illnesses Are There?
Many types of mental illnesses exist and require an assessment by a professional to make sure the person gets an accurate diagnosis. Part of learning how to deal with a parent with mental illness begins with learning what mental health challenge the person has. The most common types of mental illnesses include:
- Anxiety Disorders: These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, and more.
- Mood Disorders: These include major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.
- Thought Disorders: The most common one of these is schizophrenia.
- Trauma-based Illnesses: This includes post-traumatic stress disorder and other disorders triggered by experiencing a traumatic event.
- Dual diagnosis: This is the presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.
How to Deal With a Parent With Mental Illness
How to deal with a parent with mental illness depends a great deal on the age of the child. If it’s a person who is underage, their choices are limited. Having said that, the child can still speak to a trusted adult such as a family member, school counselor, or teacher. They can express their concern about their parents and how they behave and ask for support and guidance.
Adult children of parents with a mental illness do have options for how to deal with this challenging problem. The first step is to get educated about the parent’s condition. Knowing what they have and how it impacts their lives provides a better ability to understand what’s going on. It can help to talk to a parent and ask how the child can offer support. As well, it’s important to establish boundaries so that mental illness does not provide an excuse for certain behaviors that can be helped with treatment.
Children can learn to become more aware of signs that a parent is struggling. They can anticipate potential triggers and be aware of cycles such as those that occur with bipolar disorder. Family therapy sessions can help with this. A therapist can mediate conversations between parents and children in order to foster better communication and create realistic expectations.
Children often need support in order to cope with a parent’s mental illness. Children can join support groups or see their own counselors. This provides them with a safe space to talk about challenges and their feelings and experiences. Last, it’s important for children, no matter what age, to realize their parents’ mental health is not a reflection on the child. The child did not cause the disease nor can they force the parent to take care of themselves.
How is Mental Illness Treated?
There are many effective treatments for how to deal with a parent with mental illness. Some people need the around-the-clock care that comes with moving into a residential center. For others, outpatient care provides the right amount of treatment. When someone attends outpatient treatment, they attend therapy sessions during the day but can still live in their homes. This option allows parents to still be accessible to their children most of the time. Additionally, they have time to tend to other personal responsibilities.
Outpatient care consists of different levels. Which level works best for each person depends on their specific situation and treatment needs. Options for outpatient care include:
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Mental illness can be effectively treated by using different types of therapies. Individual talk therapy, including dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), helps a lot of people understand their mental health disorders and make progress in managing them. Other options include ACT therapy, psychotherapy, and psychiatry.
In addition, family therapy helps not only the individual but the entire family unit. Family therapy helps teach people to communicate more effectively and work together so that everyone feels validated. The family learns how to provide care and understands the limits and responsibilities of their loved one.
Find Help For Mental Illness in Atlanta, GA
Are you someone who needs help to know how to deal with a parent with mental illness? New View Wellness in Atlanta offers comprehensive care for a variety of mental health disorders. We assess each individual to understand the level of care best suited to their needs. Our outpatient services allow a parent to remain in their home while receiving focused care that addresses their exact needs. From there, each person can learn to engage in healthier family relationships.
If you would like to talk about options for getting your mom or dad the help they deserve, contact us today. Our staff can provide the understanding assistance you need.