Understanding Mental Illness: How to Handle Problem Behavior

Reviewed Aug 30, 2016

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Summary

  • Plan ahead for when symptoms of the illness occur.
  • Set reasonable rules and limits and stick to them.
  • Do not go along with delusional thinking.

Your family member should have a home that is safe and stable. A setting like this will help your loved one with his recovery. Your support and understanding is critical. Even when your loved one has support and a safe place to live, there may be times when your loved one is not doing well. He may act in a way that causes worry for you and other family members. These ideas may help you and your family:

  • Plan for when your loved one gets bad symptoms. Talk to her doctor or therapist about how to plan. If possible, learn what can set off the symptoms. Agree on a course of action ahead of time.
  • Learn to spot signs of relapse, such as changes in mood, sleeping, and eating habits. Your family member should also learn these signs. He may be able to tell you what has worked to rid him of stress and get control of symptoms. Seeing his doctor or therapist may help avoid a relapse. This is especially true if your loved one needs his meds evaluated.
  • Learn what situations may cause trouble. Do not invite an insensitive friend to your home when your ill relative is there.
  • Do not agree to stop the meds if your family member feels cured, or because the meds have side effects. Talk to the doctor who prescribed the meds. She may not know that your relative is having side effects. Be sure she understands the problems your loved one is having because of the meds. If your doctor refuses to listen or to act, a change in doctors may be in order.
  • Set fair rules and limits and stick to them. It may help to ask the therapist for ideas. 
  • Don’t tell your family member to "pull yourself together." If he could, he would. Not being able to do this is part of the illness. Know that he is dealing with more than you are.
  • Don’t expect that all bad habits be fixed at once. Focus on good things your relative is doing. Don’t focus on what is going wrong.
  • At times people with mental illness have memory loss or can’t concentrate. Be patient with your relative. If your relative seems like she’s not listening, it may be because of the illness. Repeat the info in a kind and clear way.
  • Do not go along with delusional thinking. The person with mental illness needs to be able to depend on someone who is in touch with reality.
  • Your family member may see or hear things that aren’t there. Be honest. Accept his view of the world as his own. If asked, say that you are not having the hallucination. Learning how to respond in a respectful ways to these and to other symptoms is an important part of family support.  
By Haline Grublak, Vice President of Member and Family Affairs, Beacon Health Options
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Plan ahead for when symptoms of the illness occur.
  • Set reasonable rules and limits and stick to them.
  • Do not go along with delusional thinking.

Your family member should have a home that is safe and stable. A setting like this will help your loved one with his recovery. Your support and understanding is critical. Even when your loved one has support and a safe place to live, there may be times when your loved one is not doing well. He may act in a way that causes worry for you and other family members. These ideas may help you and your family:

  • Plan for when your loved one gets bad symptoms. Talk to her doctor or therapist about how to plan. If possible, learn what can set off the symptoms. Agree on a course of action ahead of time.
  • Learn to spot signs of relapse, such as changes in mood, sleeping, and eating habits. Your family member should also learn these signs. He may be able to tell you what has worked to rid him of stress and get control of symptoms. Seeing his doctor or therapist may help avoid a relapse. This is especially true if your loved one needs his meds evaluated.
  • Learn what situations may cause trouble. Do not invite an insensitive friend to your home when your ill relative is there.
  • Do not agree to stop the meds if your family member feels cured, or because the meds have side effects. Talk to the doctor who prescribed the meds. She may not know that your relative is having side effects. Be sure she understands the problems your loved one is having because of the meds. If your doctor refuses to listen or to act, a change in doctors may be in order.
  • Set fair rules and limits and stick to them. It may help to ask the therapist for ideas. 
  • Don’t tell your family member to "pull yourself together." If he could, he would. Not being able to do this is part of the illness. Know that he is dealing with more than you are.
  • Don’t expect that all bad habits be fixed at once. Focus on good things your relative is doing. Don’t focus on what is going wrong.
  • At times people with mental illness have memory loss or can’t concentrate. Be patient with your relative. If your relative seems like she’s not listening, it may be because of the illness. Repeat the info in a kind and clear way.
  • Do not go along with delusional thinking. The person with mental illness needs to be able to depend on someone who is in touch with reality.
  • Your family member may see or hear things that aren’t there. Be honest. Accept his view of the world as his own. If asked, say that you are not having the hallucination. Learning how to respond in a respectful ways to these and to other symptoms is an important part of family support.  
By Haline Grublak, Vice President of Member and Family Affairs, Beacon Health Options
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Plan ahead for when symptoms of the illness occur.
  • Set reasonable rules and limits and stick to them.
  • Do not go along with delusional thinking.

Your family member should have a home that is safe and stable. A setting like this will help your loved one with his recovery. Your support and understanding is critical. Even when your loved one has support and a safe place to live, there may be times when your loved one is not doing well. He may act in a way that causes worry for you and other family members. These ideas may help you and your family:

  • Plan for when your loved one gets bad symptoms. Talk to her doctor or therapist about how to plan. If possible, learn what can set off the symptoms. Agree on a course of action ahead of time.
  • Learn to spot signs of relapse, such as changes in mood, sleeping, and eating habits. Your family member should also learn these signs. He may be able to tell you what has worked to rid him of stress and get control of symptoms. Seeing his doctor or therapist may help avoid a relapse. This is especially true if your loved one needs his meds evaluated.
  • Learn what situations may cause trouble. Do not invite an insensitive friend to your home when your ill relative is there.
  • Do not agree to stop the meds if your family member feels cured, or because the meds have side effects. Talk to the doctor who prescribed the meds. She may not know that your relative is having side effects. Be sure she understands the problems your loved one is having because of the meds. If your doctor refuses to listen or to act, a change in doctors may be in order.
  • Set fair rules and limits and stick to them. It may help to ask the therapist for ideas. 
  • Don’t tell your family member to "pull yourself together." If he could, he would. Not being able to do this is part of the illness. Know that he is dealing with more than you are.
  • Don’t expect that all bad habits be fixed at once. Focus on good things your relative is doing. Don’t focus on what is going wrong.
  • At times people with mental illness have memory loss or can’t concentrate. Be patient with your relative. If your relative seems like she’s not listening, it may be because of the illness. Repeat the info in a kind and clear way.
  • Do not go along with delusional thinking. The person with mental illness needs to be able to depend on someone who is in touch with reality.
  • Your family member may see or hear things that aren’t there. Be honest. Accept his view of the world as his own. If asked, say that you are not having the hallucination. Learning how to respond in a respectful ways to these and to other symptoms is an important part of family support.  
By Haline Grublak, Vice President of Member and Family Affairs, Beacon Health Options
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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