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Caring for Loved One's with Severe Mental Illness

Mental illness is very common with anxiety and depression being the most prevalent. We may know someone who struggles with anxiety or depression daily, or maybe that person is us. We know how difficult it is to love and care for someone who struggles with such a debilitating condition. If you are the one struggling, you know intimately just how difficult it is to care for yourself. Sometimes, just getting out of bed to go to work or even hang out with friends can seem as challenging as climbing a mountain.

Thinking about how insurmountable those daily tasks seem, imagine that you or a loved one is experiencing a more severe mental illness such as Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. Typically, these disorders are more severe because of the type of symptoms each one has. With Bipolar Disorder, one may experience moments of mania, which can involve a heightened sense of grandiosity, invincibility, and erratic behavior. In Bipolar Disorder, mania is then followed by severe depression signified by a sense of worthlessness, hopelessness, and lethargy.

With Schizophrenia, you may see similar behavior as with Bipolar Disorder, but it is more erratic rather than cyclical. Also, there is the presence of hallucinations and/or delusions. Hallucinations can be auditory (sound), visual (sight), or tactile (touch). Delusions differ from hallucinations, in that, they are inaccurate beliefs. For example, hallucinating would be seeing a blue duck walking across the living room. The delusion would be the inaccurate belief that the blue ducks are real when they do not exist. Someone dealing with hallucinations rather than delusions would be able to differentiate between the hallucinations and "reality."

When loved one's suffer from these severe illnesses/symptoms, it can be very difficult to care for them as they might struggle to adequately express their needs. Very few treatments are effective for these types of mental illness. The main therapy that is utilized for these cases is

Psychopharmacotherapy. This refers to the combination of traditional psychotherapy and the use of psychotropic medications. While many clients may see a therapist for psychotherapy, it is important that a psychiatrist is involved and actively managing their medications.

These two factors are important for successful treatment because the outcomes of these severe mental disorders are generally about maintaining a good quality of life. It is imperative that those who care for them make sure they have access to and are consistently involved in their own care and treatment. As loved one's caring for individuals with Schizophrenia or Bipolar I Disorder, we must manage our self-care, too. This could look like appropriate boundary setting, rest and meditation, regularly scheduling fun activities. This may even look like seeing a therapist of your own to manage frustrations, exhaustion, distressing thoughts, and more. Let's be honest, caring for our loved ones can feel like a burden, but does that mean we cannot live a satisfying, fulfilling, and enjoyable life? The answer to that is a resounding "no!" However, that does not disqualify the reality that, sometimes, we all need a little help and support.

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About Sam Nabil

Sam Nabil is the founder of Naya Clinics and is a Boston therapist and a Boston Marriage Counselor.

Sam offers therapy in Boston and Boston Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety. Sam Nabil was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English, The Washington post, The Boston Globe, Fatherly magazine, Women's health magazine, Cornell university, Yahoo News, USA Today,

Naya Clinics is a top-rated Marriage Counseling, therapy and Life coaching practice.

Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world. Naya Clinics also offers Online marriage counseling, online therapy, and online life coaching.

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