As we enjoy the winter holidays, the good experiences we have with family and friends contribute to our sense of wellbeing and purpose. This can be especially powerful for people who are in recovery from a mental illness or a substance use disorder. For people in recovery –just like all of us—a good holiday strategy can help to anticipate potential snags and ensure everyone gets the most out of time spent together. As a practicing psychiatrist, I routinely check in with my patients regarding their holiday plans and expectations. The examples below demonstrate successful plans.This holiday season, “John” has been invited to dinner with his family for the first time in two years.
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Depression is a common but serious mental illness. It can impact anyone from children to older adults. About 6.7 percent of all Americans experience major depressive disorder in any given year. Did you know that women are far more likely than men to experience depression in their lifetimes?
National Depression Screening Day is October 9th. Talk with your doctor if you are concerned about yourself or a family member. The National Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health America are two organizations that maintain a list of local area health care providers who can screen for depression.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) usually begins in children aged 12 years and younger, and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that approximately 9 percent of children and youth age 13 to 18 years have ADHD and about 4.1 percent of American adults age 18 years and older are diagnosed with ADHD in any given year.
Bipolar disorder, sometimes called “manic-depressive illness,” is a serious mental illness that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. In any given year, it impacts approximately 2.6 percent of the American public.
In any given year one in five adults aged 18 and older will experience a mental illness. From October 5-11, the nation will recognize Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) to help educate all Americans on the needs of individuals with mental illness—including serious mental illness—and their families.