Protecting Your Mental Health: There are numerous debates about whether mental health concerns lead to addiction, or if addictive behaviour increases the risk of mental health problems. What is most common is a dual diagnosis, which means that a person is diagnosed with both a substance use disorder as well as a mental health problem. So, it is important that a dual treatment program is designed to help each person overcome all aspects of the mental and physical challenges are presented in recovery.
Connection: Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Whether you are just starting down the road to recovery, or you are looking for long-term strategies to maintain your success, it is important that you are proactive in maintaining your mental health. But, there’s one more aspect that many people don’t consider: protecting one’s own mental health when spending time around other people who are struggling themselves.
Family influences play a role in the development of mental health problems. At the same time, there is a connection between mental health and substance abuse disorders. It doesn’t matter if you have overcome an addiction or you are trying to avoid addictive behaviour in the future; the foundation needs to be laid by protecting your mental health.
Take Care of Yourself Before Helping Others
Mental health can be a struggle if you are near family or friends that have mental health challenges. There are times when others might pull you into unnecessary drama and stress, which has an impact on your mental health. Or, you could be facing the challenge of maintaining a positive outlook when someone close to you is suffering from depression.
Taking care of your personal needs before helping others can be compared to the emergency instructions when you are on a commercial flight. The flight attendants always explain the safety instructions before takeoff, and one of the suggestions is to put on your oxygen mask before helping others around you. If you aren’t getting enough air, then you won’t be in a condition to help others.
A similar approach needs to be used for mental health. It is essential that you set boundaries to maintain your mental well-being. Then, you will have the strength and foundation to offer a helping hand to friends and family.
Boundaries to Protect Your Mental Health
Instead of allowing another person’s mental health challenges to affect your own mental health, you need to be proactive with setting boundaries to protect yourself from relapse. Setting boundaries means that you speak up for what you need. It is essential that you take care of yourself so that your needs are met.
As you are creating boundaries, you need to have predetermined limits in the way you manage the things that you will or won’t participate in. Here are a few examples of what boundaries might look like in your family relationships or friendships:
- Speaking up when there is something that you need
- Limiting the amount of money or time that is given to someone
- Maintaining privacy
- Setting guidelines for your physical space
- Allowing others to face the consequences of their actions
- Saying no when it doesn’t make sense for you to participate
It can be a challenge to set healthy boundaries, especially if you have been in a relationship without boundaries. But, these efforts get easier over time. The best thing that you can do is apply a proactive approach with the way you choose to interact with the person. Maintain consistency with those boundaries so that you can protect your mental health and avoid problems in the future.
Self Care Should Be a Priority
Even though it can be tough to set boundaries, it is essential that you focus on self-care. Be proactive to maintain your mental health so that you can support yourself and be in a position to help others as needed. Depending on your circumstances, it might make sense to consider addiction and mental health rehab for yourself or a family member. The right recovery program can help with treatment for addiction as well as mental health concerns.