Helping someone you care about to overcome a substance use disorder or manage the symptoms related to a mental health disorder is challenging enough – to attempt to help someone with both can be understandably daunting. The fact is that these two issues – substance use and a mental health issue – cannot be extricated from each other. Both disorders must be treated simultaneously, and as a caregiver, it will help to learn what you can do about both issues that your loved one is facing as well as specifics about available treatments.
The good news is that there is an untold amount of research and support designed to help you better help your family member. Studies show that clients in treatment who have support at home may be better equipped to manage whatever comes their way in recovery.
If you are unsure of how best to support your loved one, or if the weight of worry, fear, and managing the rest of the household is heavy, then you can get the information you need to determine the best path forward by investigating reliable online sources. Depending on the specific disorder facing your loved one, different sites will be of service to you. Some options include:
- gov: No matter what mental illness is plaguing your loved one, you will find information about the nature of the disorder as well as the treatments available and current research investigating new treatment options here. There are resources specifically for family members who are seeking to support loved ones living with different disorders, so this is a good place to start your search.
- National Institute of Mental Health: Another comprehensive resource on a range of mental health issues and illnesses, NIMH provides educational tools designed specifically to expand awareness on different mental health topics. You can find the latest news impacting patients and their families, learn about the latest research, and keep up with changes to the insurance industry regarding coverage of mental health care.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA provides access to current studies, pending research, archives of information and data, and all the educational tools you need to better understand what your loved one is experiencing. There are also links to resources for support of the client as well as concerned family members.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: NAMI, too, offers a wide range of resources on all aspects of mental health disorders and their treatments. Learn how the brain functions, find out more about the different programs that are working to increase treatment and support, and read the personal stories of people who are living with these disorders and how they are working to heal.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation: If your loved one is obsessively focused on their appearance and perceived “flaws” to the point that they will choose destructive behaviors over health, then body dysmorphic disorder may be the issue. Learn more about the disorder at the BDD Foundation website, and get the info you need to help your family member begin to heal.
- National Center for Victims of Crime: Trauma can cause significant mental health issues, especially post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. For those who struggling with trauma due to being a victim of crime of any kind (e.g., terrorism, sexual assault, bullying, stalking, physical abuse, etc.), the National Center for Victims of Crime can provide resources for support and treatment based on the type of crime.
- Center for Complicated Grief: Losing a loved one can be devastating to a family, and complicated grief can occur if significant grief continues for longer than six months. Learn more about the disorder, its symptoms, and ways to heal by exploring the many resources on the website hosted by the Center for Complicated Grief.
- National Eating Disorder Association of America: NEDA provides learning tools as well as support services for people struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, bulimia, and other eating disorders as well as their families. They are also connected to Proud2BMe an organization that promotes positive self-image and health eating.
- Healing From BPD: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a difficult mental health disorder to navigate, and connecting with others who have a family member living with the disorder or who are living with the disorder themselves can help. At this site, you can get information about BPD and its treatment, share your experiences, and learn from the experiences of others.
- International OCD Foundation: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder, and anxiety disorders are some of the most commonly diagnosed types of mental health disorders in the US. If your loved one is struggling, this foundation offers a slew of links and informational resources to help you better understand the problem and help your family member heal.
- IMAlive: If you are struggling with depression or just feel like you don’t have the energy to reach out to others for help, the IM Alive virtual crisis chat is an excellent resource. Peer volunteers from around the country are available to take your call and talk you through the challenges you are facing.
No matter what challenges are facing your loved one, you can connect with a range of helpful information and resources online that will assist you in caring for them in recovery. Learn more about connecting your loved one with treatment for co-occurring disorders today.