Mental health disorders are powerful conditions that can heighten, warp or deteriorate different facets of the human mind and body. If stricken with one of these forms of psychological and behavioral change, a person may have to turn all of his or her attention to addressing or treating the disorder instead of building or maintaining social relationships. Similarly, in the case of an abusive relationship with drugs or alcohol, the consequences of addiction may force a person to focus inward and only be concerned with continuing his or her drug use and may become socially isolated. Whatever the situation may be, the social side effects of any disorder may include dropping out of life activities or obligations, antagonizing others through negative outbursts and even emotionally or physically harming another.
When someone suffering from a mental illness lashes out or severs meaningful connections with others, those individuals who are affected are usually constitute the closest network of support: family and good friends. This can happen in a range of different ways. First of all, the onset of many disorders occurs during adolescence and young adulthood (Costello et. al., 2003). Many in this age group may still live with their parents, meaning that the closely knit relationships that envelop the household can be extremely disrupted (Sane.org). Beyond the initial shock an official diagnosis or dual diagnosis can have on a family, the group’s shared stress may only begin there.
Families may also take on the role of day-to-day care. This process is a full-time job, especially when confronting co-occurring conditions with minimal training, aid or acknowledgment of specific requirements of mental health care. For many people dealing with a mental illness, family and other loved ones are the first and sometimes the last line of support. When families are accepted as caretakers and reach out to receive training and support from professionals in the mental health field, strong evidence points out that this leads to better outcomes for everyone involved.
However, the impact of one or more mental disorders can affect the afflicted person’s support group in negative ways. Some members of an individual’s social support structure may not be able to handle being depended on for so many aspects of care. Also, the repetitive and problematic behaviors of addiction can become tiresome and exhaustive, especially if that person manipulates, deceives or just refuses to seek help at all.
Some argue that in order to take control of one’s journey to recovery, a person must be selfish in order to uphold consistent positive patterns and strict policies of self-management (Healthyplace.com). This may be true to a certain extent, as not caring for one’s health can contribute heavily to failed improvement and cyclical relapse. However, a human being’s relationships play an irreplaceable role in benefiting the healing process. A distant or unwilling environment can drive the possibility of sobriety or stability down the drain in contrast to a caring environment. The solution is there needs to be a healthy balance between the mental patient’s needs and the needs of others. It may be most helpful to think of the development of mental disorders and addiction as a systemic sickness. While the psychological changes may directly influence the individual, the behaviors that result from these changes will ripple out and reverberate within the lives of those around the patient. For family members and friends supporting their afflicted loved one, the accountability that comes with the care of a close companion should be viewed in a positive way. Helping out anyone in need makes one more capable and reliable in his or her life as well.
For those suffering from a single or multiple mental disorders, adequate support is one of the key elements for successful treatment. Unfortunately, for a substantial amount of patients, helping hands may be lacking. This is where California Dual Diagnosis Helpline can provide assistance. With just a click or call, one of our many consultants will be there to listen to your specific circumstances. In moments, you will be connected with treatment centers in your area that focus on addressing the internal and external effects of mental illness. Chat with us online or call 855-980-1736 for more information.