How to Live With a Psychological Disorder

Serious psychological disorders, or mental illnesses, can include major depression, bipolar disorders, panic issues, schizophrenia, chronic anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. Psychological disorders can also include eating disorders and substance abuse or alcoholism. Like any other illness, mental illness can be treated and managed. Knowing how to live with a psychological disorder can help you lead a productive, satisfying life despite the challenges you face.


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    Acknowledge that you have a mental illness and seek a diagnosis.
    • Acknowledging that you need help is the first and often the most difficult step in living with a psychological problem. Find a professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist who can make a diagnosis. Keep in mind, however, if you believe you need medication to assist you in managing your mental illness, psychiatrists can prescribe drugs and psychologists cannot.
    • Reject self-blame and accusations from others that your mental illness is a character flaw. It is a serious illness brought about by a combination of factors, often including chemical imbalances in the brain.
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    Find the right treatment for your specific psychological disorder.
    • Shop around for an expert who specializes in your illness. If you don't feel comfortable with one therapist, find another.
    • Treatment may include medication, peer support groups, psychosocial treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy or a combination of these and other treatments.
    • Realize that you may need to experiment with several treatments until you find one that works for you.
    • Look for help in other places such as books, support websites, understanding friends and family, your church, or community outreach groups. Isolating yourself is not conducive to healing.
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    Practice resilience.
    • Learning to adapt to adversity, stress, even trauma or tragedy can help you overcome psychological disorders. Resilience is not an inborn trait but can be learned and developed in anyone.
    • Resilience involves making realistic plans and carrying them out, having confidence in yourself, communicating effectively, and managing your emotions and impulses.
    • Try to build a community of supportive individuals around you. Look for family, friends, and support groups that will help you during difficult times.
    • Anticipate problems without letting them overwhelm you. Accept that problems and setbacks are a part of life.
    • Set reasonable goals and move toward them at a manageable pace. Celebrate each accomplishment, no matter how small.
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    • Don't hide or run from adversity. Face it head on and take decisive, sensible action. Any action, even if its not perfect, is better than detaching yourself from the problem and hiding from or ignoring it.
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    Keep your body healthy.
    • Exercise, eat well and avoid taking substances which could harm you. Learn to relax and enjoy small everyday pleasures. Exercising will activate natural chemicals which add to a feeling of well-being.
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    Endeavor to control your illness while you resist letting it control your life.
    • Realize that it is possible to still experience happiness and success even if you have a psychological disorder, just as those with physical disorders can lead fulfilling lives.
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    Strive to understand both yourself and your illness.
    • Knowing yourself will help you accept your illness. Journal and record your struggles and achievements. Meditate or use spiritual guidelines to relieve stress and find hope.
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    Release the past, instead looking to the future with as much optimism as you can manage.
    • Visualize what you want to be and things you hope to achieve. Focus on these rather than upon your fears and past failures.
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Categories: Mental Disorders | Disability Issues