Many different things can lead to people developing mental health problems or an addiction. It may be that something has recently happened to your parent that is weighing on them. Or your parents experienced something bad in the past. Perhaps a misfortune has occurred, or someone has died.
But it could also be that no exact cause can be identified. Heredity can also play a role and cause some people to cope worse with stress than others. Physical illnesses can also lead to mental illnesses or addictions.
People with a mental illness or addiction can be helped in very different ways. Outpatient treatment means that someone regularly visits a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. They can attend appointments at a hospital or a practice, while still living at home.
Inpatient treatment means being treated in a psychiatric clinic (on a hospital ward) and staying there overnight.
Partial inpatient means being treated in a clinic during the day (called a day clinic) and going home in the evening.
In all three types of treatment, those affected undergo therapy. This involves talking to psychiatrists or psychologists about their problems or feelings. Sometimes family or friends can also be present during these conversations. There are also groups where those affected can talk to people going through similar situations. These are called self-help groups. However, therapy does not only take place through conversations. It is also important to be physically active, for example through sport. If talk therapy alone is not sufficient, there are also medications for mental illnesses or addictions.
Mental illnesses and addictions in parents usually burden the entire family. Conflicts occur often or you feel uncomfortable. Everyday things frequently become too difficult for parents and you help out. But it's impossible to take over all your parent’s tasks. It is important to have time for yourself, meet friends and do what you enjoy in your free time.
Often you also become afraid of becoming ill yourself. This can happen, as anyone can develop mental illnesses or addictions. However, whether you become ill depends on many factors. For example, you might have a predisposition to it. But even if you have a predisposition, it doesn't necessarily mean you will get sick.
More than one in three people have a mental illness or addiction at some point in their lives that should be treated. Even more people have relatives with mental illnesses or addictions. There is no reason to be ashamed. On the contrary: It's good to talk about it, because then you often realise that you aren't alone.
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