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When It’s Too Much: How to Seek Help for Addiction and Mental Health Crisis

There’s a lot of buzz these days about self-care. Some people, despite all their sorrow and struggle, think a long bath or a good run is going to balance them out and fix things.

Sometimes, that’s not enough. There’s a big difference between feeling frazzled and feeling out of control. Self-care is a silly trend and does not address the real pain some people are going through and cannot overcome on their own.

For a long time, I just assumed I was flighty, not feeling well and just weepy. It was manageable for a long time, so I didn’t say anything to anyone. It got worse; I missed work, I didn’t eat and I stopped caring about the things I used to love. I spiraled into an anxious, depressed episode that I never could have climbed out of if I hadn’t sought professional help.

I’m fortunate to not have had the added layer of addiction in my own struggle. But I know that a mental breakdown, hard times and simply life pressure can trigger issues later on in life.

Mental illness and addiction are often intertwined. Both of these things can surface young, but other people find themselves in trouble in their adult lives, succumbing to binge drinking, panic attacks, drug use or depression. These all often go hand-in-hand.

If you’re not feeling yourself, seeing signs of substance abuse or just want to talk to someone before it gets worse, here are some ideas that will gently guide you toward help you need.

NOTE: I am not a professional and cannot offer any medical advice. This is simply my personal experience and opinion as a friend.

First Steps in Seeking Help

If you’ve suddenly become aware that you need help, you should ask yourself a few questions. Such as, is my drinking/drug use effecting things I love? Do I physically not feel my best? Am I using a lot of negative self talk? Have I lost things that are important to me (friends, job, home) because of my harmful habits?

One of the hardest things to face is if someone else has pointed out these problems to you first. Many people resist help because they are ashamed, stubborn or just plain angry. People often call out these addictions because they are coming from a caring place – even if their words are harsh. It’s an opportunity, whether they’re right or wrong, to be introspective and take a good look at your potentially destructive lifestyle.

By the way, addiction doesn’t necessarily mean just substance abuse. Some people become addicted to gambling, to food, to sex or even video games. Addictions can be compulsive, behavioral or involve substances. So if you notice patterns of behavior in yourself or others where a harmful hobby is getting in the way of their health and happiness, it’s time to do something about it.

So reach out to a professional – doctor, nurse, therapist or help hotline. Or, tell a trusted friend, family member or even co-worker that you need some help. You might be surprised who’s willing to drop everything to ensure you’ll be alright.

Recovery Options for Everyone

If it’s gotten to the point where you feel you might hurt yourself or others, it can be time to reach out to a facility for some immersive help. This can be set up by you, your family or your doctor. Luckily, there’s some amazing addiction recovery centers throughout the US and beyond that can help with facilitating this option for you.

Recovery centers offer several levels of assistance. Some people may be admitted to detox and wean themselves off of substances with medical help. Others may simply feel their faltering and could use an environment that’s sober and supportive.

A lot of centers will have doctors, counselors and fellow peers on hand to help. They can follow-up after you leave to ensure you’re on the wright track. And if a relapse happens, you can sometimes be re-admitted for additional treatment.

In times of crisis, the best thing you can do is reach out for help. It does not mean your weak, it does not mean you’re worthless. In fact, it really is brave and admirable to tell someone you need a hand, as it’s never easy to admit our flaws. A recovery center may be the best option for you (or a friend you see who’s struggling), so do your research and be patient with yourself and others.

It’s a touch subject. Have you known someone to suffer from mental health trauma and/or addiction? What did you do? If you’d like more information about potential centers for addiction, visit The Recovery Village.

EileenCotterWright

Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA expat living in London, UK. She is a freelance writer and owner of group travel site PureWander.com. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for about a decade. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Twitter @Crooked_Flight.

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  • Thank You for sharing your story, and helping others who are going through similar things! I am a Psychiatrist in Jacksonville, FL that specializes with addiction and mental health.

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