When someone you care about is in obvious emotional pain of course you want to help them. Even though the desire is there to get them professional help, you are stopped dead in your tracks not knowing who to proceed with such a delicate matter as your loved one’s mental health. No one teaches you how to handle these sensitive issues, and instinctively you worry that a misstep could only send the friend or family member the opposite direction.
Understanding how to get someone psychiatric help is important information we could all use. Mental health disorders effect about a fifth of the population in any given year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It isn’t farfetched to assume that during our lifetimes either a loved one or ourselves will grapple with a mental health condition. Just knowing which way to turn if this should transpire can help us respond in a timely manner, possibly preventing a tragedy.
Prevalent Mental Health Conditions
Life in our modern society is more stressful than ever. Many people today suffer from mental health conditions related to excessive worry and feelings of despair as a result. Although genetics and biology play a pivotal role in determining who will potentially struggle with a mental health disorder, environmental factors, such as stressful life events, dysfunctional family dynamics, and traumatic events can be causal factors also.
Some of the more prevalent mental health disorders include:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Specific Phobia, Social Anxiety, OCD, and PTSD
- Eating Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
Although all of these mental health conditions are difficult and challenging, they are all manageable to some degree with medication and psychotherapy.
Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Psychiatric Conditions
It is sometimes recognize the signs of mental illness. We all have difficult chapters in life, so emotional upheavals go with the territory. We may cycle through periods of the blues, for instance after a job loss or the loss of a loved one. During times of unrelenting stress, we may experience shallow breathing, heart palpitations, and worry. But when the symptoms do not resolve, or become more severe, that may be a sign of a mental health disorder that needs medical attention.
Some of the signs of mental distress include:
- Sleep disturbance, such as insomnia or hypersomnia
- Persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Irrational feelings of guilt or shame
- Obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors
- Using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate
- Excessive worry
- Delusional thinking
- Detached from reality
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene
- Lack of involvement in activities once enjoyed
While everyone has their own idiosyncrasies and personality quirks, when someone begins to exhibit some of the above signs that seem to be out of character or outside the norm for them it may be time to get the individual evaluated by a mental health professional.
How to Get Someone Psychiatric Help
It is easy to fall into denial when seeing a loved one or colleague struggling emotionally. The first instinct might be to ignore it, hoping that the condition resolves on its own. But the sooner the individual gets help the better the treatment outcome will be.
Once you identify behaviors that are unusual or out of character for the individual, learning how to get someone psychiatric help is the next obstacle to overcome. This can be an overwhelming challenge for many people, not knowing where to go or who to turn to for help.
Here are some steps to take if you suspect someone you know is suffering from mental illness:
- Approach them about it in a quiet, private space where they will feel free to talk openly about what is happening.
- Do not cast any judgment on the person. Do not try to pinpoint what caused it or analyze their life. Just listen to them and encourage them to get some help.
- Become informed about the mental health disorder they may have. For example, if they seem listless, sad, despairing, low energy, and struggle to focus, learn about depression.
- Research psychologists in their insurance plan network. Offer to help them make the first appointment, and even accompany them to the initial consultation.
Some people may resist going to meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes it is best to visit the family physician first that can then make the referral to a mental health practitioner. This might help reduce anxiety about seeing a therapist.
Treatment Options for Mental Health Disorders
The level of care required to treat a mental health disorder may range from an outpatient setting, such as being under the care of a private practice psychiatrist, to day programs, to residential programs, to hospital settings. The severity of the disorder will determine the level of care that is recommended.
As science continues to make inroads into the psychological landscape, new drugs are designed to more accurately treat a mental health disorder. There are literally dozens of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and anti-psychotic drugs available for the doctor to select from, depending on the diagnosis.
In addition to the pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy is another traditional treatment protocol for helping people manage their mental health disorder. Some psychotherapies focus on behavioral changes, while others are centered on the patient’s life history and how past events may have contributed to the onset of the disorder.
In some cases, a dual diagnosis is revealed, which involves a mental health disorder coexisting with substance abuse or addiction. This presents a more complex treatment strategy, as both disorders must be treated simultaneously for best results. For this reason, a dual diagnosis treatment program that offers both addiction treatment and mental health treatment is recommended. These specialized programs can be provided in either an inpatient or outpatient setting.
The Treatment Specialist Provides Important Mental Health Information
The Treatment Specialist is a respected online resource for information regarding mental health disorders and substance use disorders. The specialists can offer useful information to someone whose loved one is struggling with a psychiatric condition. To learn how to get someone psychiatric help or about various treatment options, call to connect to a treatment center today at (866) 644-7911.