How to Cope When A Loved One Has Been Diagnosed With A Mental Disorder
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How to Cope When A Loved One Has Been Diagnosed With A Mental Disorder

Mental illnesses are a challenge for the diagnosed. It is also very tough for those who are close to the sufferer. However, there are techniques out there that can help the loved ones cope. In this article, I lay out ways to cope when a close friend or family member is diagnosed with a mental disorder. With a level head and the right knowledge, this article will help those stay positive during those tough days.

 Mental illnesses awareness has been rising every year. In the past decade, medications have been created and mental illnesses have been better managed. However, finding out a loved one has been diagnosed with a mental disorder is emotionally strenuous. Questions may start to flood your brain and you may feel extremely upset. But you need to know that having a family member or friend diagnosed with a disorder is not always a bad thing. In most cases, symptoms were showing before and now they can get the correct treatment they needed. Still, it can often be mentally draining when someone close to you has a mental disorder. Two effective ways of coping when a loved one has a mental illness is by gaining knowledge about the diagnosis and accepting your feelings.

When you first find out that a loved one has been diagnosed with a mental illness, a great way to cope is by researching the illness. By having knowledge of the disorder, you can better understand what they are going through. This is especially important in today’s society, because media tends to put an inaccurate stigma on mental illnesses. Doing some research on the mental illness your loved one has will dispel any false beliefs you may have about the disorder. For example, schizophrenia is often times mistaken as a disorder that causes violent outbursts, but this is found to be false. In fact, schizophrenic patients are at a greater risk to themselves than they are to anyone else. Researching the mental illness is also very important because if the loved one is a family member, it is necessary to know the genetics of the illness. Many disorders can be passed down through genes, and if you find out other family members may also be suffering, you can take steps to prevent any chance of someone else getting the illness. Doing some research will help you understand that many beliefs about mental illnesses are skewed and may protect other family members.

Second of all, accepting your feelings will help you cope when a loved one is suffering from a disorder. When the diagnosis is first given, you may find yourself in denial. This is a very natural step in the coping process. You may feel worried that others will stereotype the diagnosis. However, you are not alone. There are many families and friends going through the same process you are. Understand that the anger and sadness you may experience is natural. If you like to journal or write down your feelings, this would be a great way to vent your frustrations. If writing is not for you, there are many online and real-world support groups that you can join with members going through the same process you are. Accepting your feelings will help you cope better with your loved one’s diagnosis and will also help you keep a positive outlook.

Remember, just because a loved one is diagnosed with a mental illness does not mean your life or their life has to decline. You can still lead a proactive life if you understand what they are going through and accept the feelings you have. Keeping a steady head and having optimism will be especially crucial for your loved one, who will need support during tough times. Stay as positive as possible and both you and your loved one can conquer the challenge that mental illness brings!

Some important things to remember:

  • If you feel you or a loved one may be suffering from a mental illness, seek professional help. It is better to not take any chances when it comes to this, because undiagnosed mental illnesses can be dangerous.
  • No matter how much information you may have about mental disorders, you should never diagnose someone, unless you are licensed. There are numerous reasons for this, including the possibility of misdiagnosing someone.
  • Stay positive! Having a loved one diagnosed with mental illness can be very stressful, but it is a learning experience for everyone around you. Stay determined and hopeful that you and your loved one can manage anything the disorder may throw at you.

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