Mental illness is difficult. It is perhaps more difficult for the one suffering from it rather than those who must watch someone they know experience it. I do not have a mental illness, rather, I have a family member who suffers from it. They have for quite a few years now. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to suffer from a mental issue, but I do know how it feels to be the target of the person who does suffer from the issue. How does one fix the problem? Or can they?
Mental health issues are not at all uncommon. Millions of people around the world suffer from various forms of mental health issues. Some have been diagnosed and are currently being treated, some have yet to be diagnosed and many refuse to be treated. According to Dahlen and Deffenbacher (2001), there are various way to deal with mental health issues. One skill would be relaxation coping skills, which target both the emotional and physiological arousal associated with anger…if the person is suffering from anger management issues. The relaxation skill has the intent of lowering anger arousal. In contrast to targeting arousal, cognitive interventions target biases in information processing and cognitive appraisals.
When a family member suffers from a severe psychological disability, what do you do? How do you cope with it? When is the right time to diagnose a mental health problem and how is it diagnosed? I receive the brunt of my family member’s delusions and scattered patterns of thinking by way of internet postings. Why exactly this family member has fixated and obsessed with me for so many years thus far, is really anyone’s guess. Perhaps it is a part of the illness. I am aware that the severe psychological disability causes much of the internet misconduct. I do know the individual has been undergoing treatment for the psychological disability most of their “adult life”. Perhaps aging causes the illness to become worse over time?
The thought processes of someone who suffers from a mental impairment are dysfunctional and scattered. It is often times impossible to have a logical dialogue with someone who is mentally ill and mentally unstable.
A person with a personality disorder, clinical depression or some other form of mental health issue, can be incredibly charismatic, witty, enjoyable to be around…even causing others no alarm that anything is even amiss. There seems to be an illness where an individual’s personality becomes split. Beware of the person, however, who is overly effusive regarding your abilities or the abilities of others. If they have grandiose thoughts, scattered thinking and they are delusional. It can be a sign of splitting.
Splitting of personality can be very problematic, as miscommunication is more like to occur. Upon first glance, a normal person may not even be aware of what is happening. Over time, however, through conversations and even perhaps daily communicating, scattered thought patterns…delusional thinking and conflicting statements will become more noticeable.
Epidemiologically personality disorders are much more common in women (ratio of 4:1) than men and there is often a history of some type of childhood trauma.
Historically, it has been known to be very difficult treating personality disorders. The goal of any clinician is to minimize anger and hostility the person suffering from such a disorder may feel. Many people who suffer from mental health problems such as personality disorders are impulsive and often time has poor judgment or poor decision-making skills. This has been obvious to me since 2006 regarding this particular family member.
So…can these issues are fixed? Is the person who suffers from the above problems permanently damaged?
Things that can help someone who suffers from a mental health problem:
•Adequate communication between the family members, the clinicians and the patient;
•if inpatient stay is required, there should be clear goals for why the person is admitted and what the plans will be when it is time for discharge. Short stays are preferable and seem to help reduce dependence. The longer a patient remains an inpatient, the higher their risks for causing injury to themselves;
•firm limit setting – verbal and physical abuse is never to be tolerated; Just because the person suffers from a mental illness does not grant them a free ticket to abuse others.
•be consistent – For example, if you have told the person that they will have to have a “time out” for verbally abusing hospital staff or family members, then they must have a “time out”; Actions speak louder than words.
•safety – removal of potentially harmful items such as knives, guns or any object that can be considered a weapon, to reduce the possibility of self-harm;
•inform the community upon the person’s discharge, as the majority of care is often outpatient; Lessen neighbors fears that the person may present a problem for their community.
•it would also be helpful at this time to have a plan for further management, whether dialectic behavior therapy or for crisis intervention only. Speak with doctors, clinicians, and therapists regarding long term care or future plans.
It is difficult to make a diagnosis regarding personality disorder, prior to the age of 18 years, due to the other developmental changes occurring at this time.
(1) Borderline Personality Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. January 2001 NIH Publication No. 01-4928.
(2) Finley-Belgrad E., Davies J. Personality Disorder: Borderline [electronic article]. Emedicine. Last updated 3 May 2006.