If you or a loved one has a mental health condition, you’re not alone. Mental illness affects millions of Americans every year. According to the national alliance on mental illness, 1 in 5 adults is currently living with a mental health condition, and 1 in 17 has a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
While those statistics may seem daunting, there is hope. With time, effort, and support from family and friends, recovery from mental illness is possible. It isn’t an easy road – along the way, there will be setbacks and stumbling blocks. But there will also be victories, and ultimately, a new, more fulfilling life.
The steps to mental health recovery
It may be helpful to think of mental illness treatment and recovery as a journey through the following stages:
Making the decision to get help
It’s often difficult to accept that you or a loved one needs treatment for mental illness, but the journey to recovery starts with acceptance – acceptance that life can, and should, be better than it currently is.
But how do you know if treatment is really necessary? One way to help you decide is by asking yourself questions about your general wellbeing, such as:
- Have you been underperforming at work?
- Are your relationships suffering?
- Have you noticed changes in your physical health?
- Have you lost interest in things that used to excite you?
- Do you feel as though you are living your best life?
By evaluating your current situation, you’ll be better equipped to determine whether you might benefit from seeking professional help.
Obtaining a diagnosis
Sometimes, obtaining a correct mental health diagnosis can be a challenge. While there are some common signs and symptoms to be aware of, illnesses can present themselves differently in different people. To narrow down the cause of the symptoms, doctors will often perform a physical exam, laboratory tests, and a psychological evaluation. Together, these paint a broad picture of your health to ensure the correct diagnosis – and ultimately, the correct treatment.
Mental health treatment can combine medication, psychotherapy, support groups, and other less-common methods. The exact combination of treatments depends on your specific needs. Since every person is different, no two courses of treatment will look exactly the same. Because of this, it may be a time-consuming process to find what works for you. But persistence leads to recovery and the chance to live your best life.
Mental health recovery isn’t a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process requiring commitment and perseverance. To maintain your recovery, it’s important to have a plan in place to help you recognize and mitigate the inevitable setbacks. The plan should involve caring for your physical health, establishing a support network, and staying close to family and friends.
Mental illness affects family members, too
Support from family can have a tremendously positive impact on those who are undergoing mental health treatment. Family members can provide a non-judgmental ear, offer encouragement and assistance, and cheer on the victories during the journey.
But no matter how much support you may offer a loved one going through the recovery process, you cannot control their actions. You may encounter resistance or rejection. You may be heartbroken as you watch your loved one suffer.
While it’s important not to give up, it’s equally important to take care of yourself. Finding a support group for family members of those living with mental illness can help you find ways to handle the stress and realize you’re not alone in this struggle.
Start your journey toward recovery at Alvarado Parkway Institute
At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we are dedicated to the wellbeing of our patients and their family members. We offer both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment, as well as a strong family education program, including support and aftercare groups. Call our 24-hour referral and crisis line at (619) 485-1432, and begin the journey toward mental health treatment and recovery today. A new life is possible – for you and your loved ones.