Mental illness can be a debilitating thing, but it can affect you in more ways than you might think. It affects lives in further-reaching ways than the disruption of mental health. The scope is constantly being researched, but it’s clear that the complications touch nearly every part of a person’s life. Here are some additional areas of your life you might need to address if you find yourself struggling with a mental illness.
It’s common for many to attempt to reduce the effects of a natural chemical imbalance by self-medicating with alcohol or other harmful substances. The dual diagnosis of addiction and psychological issues can devastate an otherwise capable person’s life. A simple answer would be to simply stop drinking, but it’s not that easy. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening. Mild symptoms include anxiety, headaches, nausea, sweating, shaky hands, and vomiting. Severe withdrawal symptoms can lead to hallucinations, seizures, or delirium tremens, which causes fever, confusion, high blood pressure, and vivid hallucinations. Quitting cold turkey can worsen the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It’s important to detox under a doctor’s care because symptoms can get worse very suddenly.
Mental health issues may also take a severe toll on personal relationships, particularly within families. An individual’s issues and actions have consequences for their social circles. Caring for a family member or close friend with a mental illness may be stressful enough to provoke emotional, psychological, or social problems in the caretakers themselves. Children are often highly affected and tend to grow up with psychological or behavioral issues of their own in response to the trauma they experienced growing up.
The societal stigmas around mental illnesses may delay or prevent recovery, bring discrimination into a person’s life, or cause various other hardships. The presence of social stigma can lead to increased suicide risk, relapse, and difficulty finding employment, as well as obstacles with health insurance and coverage. Research has shown that even physicians may discount the credibility of a psychiatric patient, even in regard to the patient’s own health.
It’s vital to reach out for help when you need it. If addiction is destroying your life, there are programs and people who genuinely want to help. It can feel embarrassing at first, but the effects of mental illness in your physical and social life are just as important as the pain and turmoil of your mental health.
If you’re in an underserved population and you are struggling with mental health issues, consider applying for Day One’s charitable mental health program here.