Many relationships have their ups and downs, but if one or both people in a relationship is experiencing mental health problems, it can bring additional challenges. Mental health issues can be extremely stressful and traumatic for everyone involved and can have a huge impact on others. When it comes to mental health, the emotional and behavioral consequences of a relationship can go largely overlooked. It is clear that an individuals’ mental health problem has consequences for others within their social networks and their family.
Looking after a family member dealing with a mental health issue can be extremely stressful, and coping with the stress, may result in various reactions or symptoms including:
- Somatic problems (migraines, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia)
- Cognitive and emotional problems (anxiety, depression, guilt, fear, anger, confusion)
- Behavioral troubles (changes in attitude, and social withdrawal)
When you, your partner or someone in your family has a mental health problem, it can cause stress and worry for everyone involved. While mental health issues affect people, couples, and families in different ways, there are many different things that can be done to support both yourself, and the ones you love. Some of the most common mental health problems you or those you love may experience are PTSD, anxiety disorders, and depression.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after having witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Serious accidents, neglect, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, war/combat, and assault are all examples of traumatic events that can cause PTSD.
PTSD can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience. It is important to remember that PTSD is not a sign of weakness; while not everyone who suffers from trauma develops PTSD, mental weakness is not the determining factor.
There are three categories of symptoms associated with PTSD which include:
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma including places, people, thoughts, or other activities that can be associated with the event.
- Being on guard or hyper-aroused at times, including feeling sudden anger or irritability, having difficulty sleeping or a lack of concentration, and being overly alert and easily startled.
- Reliving the event through recurring nightmares or other intrusive images that occur randomly at any time. Typically reliving the event will result in extreme emotional or physical reactions such as chills, heart palpitations, or panic when faced with reminders of the event.
When left untreated, PTSD can lead to a variety of serious symptoms, including:
- Severe depression: Serious depression is always a risk with PTSD. Many sufferers may demonstrate suicidal thoughts or actions while in the midst of a PTSD episode.
- Loneliness: Because PTSD can potentially make a person very difficult to be around and is often undiagnosed, individuals may feel isolated and alone.
- Anger management issues: For some people, the moments of recurring stress and anxiety lead to outbursts of anger or rage. This can result in child or spousal abuse or even public violence.
Receiving treatment can help relieve a person’s symptoms and heal from their trauma, allowing them to continue on with their lives without being controlled by PTSD.
Anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worrisome thoughts, and physical changes. Other signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Constant fear of impending danger, panic, or doom
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Feeling nervous, irritable or on edge
- Shaking or trembling
- Hyperventilation (breathing rapidly), sweating, and/or trembling
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal problems
Anxiety itself happens to just about everyone at various points throughout life and typically does not require treatment. However, if a person’s anxiety is persistent, they may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a specific set of psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry. There are several types of anxiety disorders, some of the most prominent being Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known as depression, is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. MDD is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States; in the year 2015, nearly 7% of Americans above the age of 18 experienced an episode of MDD.
Some people with MDD never seek treatment. However, most people with the disorder can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapy, and other methods can effectively treat people with MDD as well as help them manage their symptoms.
There are several symptoms associated with MDD. These symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness or irritability nearly every day or most days
- Loss of interest in most activities once enjoyed
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Change in appetite
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Lack of energy or feeling lethargic
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Early Intervention and Treatment is Critical
Mental Health has a huge impact on both our own lives as well as the lives of the people around us. Seeking treatment when necessary can completely turn a person’s life around, giving them the chance to get back to their life before their trauma.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy®(ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for both PTS and PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. Normally, only one to five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychiatric treatment.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the traumatic memories that are preventing individuals from enjoying the full life they deserve. The techniques work equally well on bullying victims, combat vets, and others.
Do not let your mental health control your life or the relationships in your life. There is always hope, even when you feel there is none. Contact ART International to learn more about the therapy or find a therapist near you.