Mental Health and Caregiving:
Mental health issues are stigmatized and very few really want to come out and ask for help. Living with someone who is suffering from mental illness is furthermore difficult. Most of the time's caregiver understands that he/she is exhausted proving the care but they too opt for silent sufferings.
If you are a caregiver and if your loved one is suffering from anxiety, depression, addiction, OCD, mood problems, personality disorders, or any other mental illness, then this article is for you. Millions of times you might have felt hopeless and unprepared and confused when it comes to handling the active stage of mental illness of your loved ones. Feeling inadequate is normal but remember you are doing great! You are the support system at this difficult moment of psychological up and downs. You are not alone, remember professional help is available.
5 step guide to being an effective caregiver
1. The bio-psycho-social factors of mental illness: Get educated, feed yourself some information about mental health in general, learn about the biological, social, and psychological factors affecting the mental health condition. Slowly start understanding your loved one's particular condition. for example, if your loved one is diagnosed with anxiety then learn what is anxiety?, Understand what it feels like when one is anxious?, what can make anxiety worst, What should you do to make things better, etc.
2. Take professional help: Being the decision-maker in the family (especially when your loved one is unable to make the decision for self) you should be rational and clam. Take professional advice immediately. People do spend a lot of time trying out superstitious activities. It just kills the time and sometimes the mental illness just gets worsens. Talk to psychologists and/or Psychiatrists they are the mental health professionals who can help resolve the mental issues and any stage.
3. It is not all in his head: Be positive, be strong, it is all in your head this kind of words and advice makes no difference, rather the patient feels more isolated and not understood by his own family. Sometimes the patient also feels that the family is blaming him and it further makes more and more complications. Mental health issues can not be dealt with just advice from wiser people, just meditation or just motivational videos, etc. It requires evidence-based treatment, which includes medicine and counseling, psychotherapy from qualified mental health people.
4. Cooperation is the key: Understand the early warning signs of relapse of your patient and immediately act. Getting cooperation is a key element of recovery, taking medicines, maintaining hygiene, doing the suggested activities like relaxation or breathing, or even writing by the psychologist will always help the patient adhere to recovery. If the patient refuses to take medicine, abruptly stop medicines, or not willing to go to counseling then do report to the treatment center and ask for help. Do not wait until the illness comes back.
5. Take care of yourself: You need to take care of your self, you are doing the emotionally exhausting job all the time so you need to pay extra attention to your sleep, rest, food, normal activities like socialization and time with self. Physically and mentally healthy caregivers the real strong support system. Most importantly, Do not hesitate to take help for your own self, if needed.