mental health support

Warning! Avoid These Ways Of Dealing With Mental Health Problems

January 12, 2024

mental health matters

Do you suffer from mental health issues? This can be anxiety, depression, insomnia, paranoia, or anything of the like. You often feel alone - it’s like nobody else can understand what you’re going through, and that makes the problems feel a billion times worse. 

The first thing we want to say is that you are far from alone. Countless research studies and surveys show that hundreds of millions suffer from mental health conditions or episodes each year. 

Sometimes, simply hearing that statistic can ease the burden. It’s nice to know you’re not unique, but it’s even better to know that you can treat mental health problems. Countless ideas exist - and we’ve written a guide on restoring your mental well-being that’s worth reading if you need assistance. 

This post isn’t so much about how you can help your mental health; it’s about what you should avoid doing to try and help it. Many individuals make their conditions worse as they follow habits or try to treat their mental health problems in certain ways. It can feel like these ideas are doing a good job, but they always result in worse outcomes. 

With that in mind, here are the ways of dealing with mental health issues you should avoid: 

Turning to alcohol or drugs as a means of escape

Suffering from mental health problems is overbearing. You spend a lot of time inside your head dealing with intrusive thoughts. You need to escape this, even if it's just for a brief moment. You search for ideas that will help you get out of your head and forget all the bad thoughts inside. 

Things like meditation or taking up a hobby are excellent and healthy ways to keep your mind occupied with other things. They stop you from focusing on the dark thoughts, even if it’s only for 10 minutes or a couple of hours. Having a brief release is essential to stop yourself from being bogged down. 

Sadly, many people go down a different route. 

When you have serious mental health problems like depression, you need instant relief. You’re looking for a way to immediately turn your brain off - not just for an hour, but for an evening, or a day! There’s an obvious way to do this and it’s not pretty; you seek out alcohol or drugs as a means of escape. 

In other words, you want to make yourself drunk or high so you can think about other things or forget your current state. The sad thing is, many people discover this by accident. They’re out with friends and get drunk, realizing that it makes them feel happier. The next morning they return to their previous state and it clicks; alcohol is the key. 

You can see a similar thing happening with drugs - but these substances are NEVER the key. Your body develops a dependence on them that leads you down a terrible path. Before you know it, you need drugs or alcohol to survive. It makes your mental health problems worse as every moment without these substances feels like hell. 

Please, don’t turn to alcohol or drugs to try and treat mental health problems. If you already have, you need professional help. Seek the nearest addiction rehab clinic near you and they will guide you through the recovery process. You must kick the dependence on these substances if you wish to see healthy, long-term, improvements in your mental health. 


Becoming completely reliant on medication

When we spoke about drugs in the previous section, we were talking about recreational stuff. There may be moments when you’re prescribed certain drugs to deal with your mental health condition. 

This can include the following: 

  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Sleep medication
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics

By all means, medication is a viable form of treatment for many mental health conditions, especially if your symptoms are severe. It’s perfectly fine to use medication, but only if it has been prescribed by a doctor or qualified mental health professional. 

Never self-medicate under any circumstances. 

Don’t purchase medication online, even if it can help with your mental health problem. Self-medication is a one-way ticket to drug abuse, landing you in the same spot that we mentioned earlier. 

However, if you receive a prescription for mental health medication, you still must proceed with caution. Only take the recommended dose - but avoid being completely reliant on it! 

That’s the crucial point here; too many people get a prescription and rely on it to “cure” their condition. You take the pills every day, so whenever you miss a dose you notice big side effects. Use medication cautiously; take it when things are really bad but don’t forget to pursue other treatment options

Look after your physical health, take up hobbies, talk to people, or get therapy. Doing these things can help in the long term, and then you have medication for the really tough times. If you start depending on your prescription, you’ll never truly get better. 

It’s the same as other health issues in life. You may have chronic back pain, so you take painkillers. It brings relief, meaning you depend on the painkillers more and more. At no point are you addressing the cause of your pain, so it’ll never truly go away. Instead, if you stretched out your back or did muscle-strengthening exercises, you’d see long-term improvements. 

Taking this approach is obvious when it’s a physical health problem, so start treating your mental health problems the same! 

Eating unhealthily as a crutch

There’s a pattern emerging in all of these ways of dealing with mental health conditions. 

Rather than seeking genuine help, you look for ways of coping with your situation. You seek vices or crutches that may temporarily take the edge off or give you the illusion of feeling better. 

Binge eating is another one of these, and it’s frighteningly common among people with mental health issues. When you’re feeling low or alone, you want an instant jolt of happiness. What better way to get this than by eating something naughty? You stuff your face with pizza, burgers, candy, chips, and every other unhealthy food source in the world. 

Weirdly, you feel a bit better after eating these foods. You notice changes in your brain, which tricks you into thinking this is a viable way of dealing with your condition. As a consequence, you eat more unhealthy foods and this leads to a host of physical health problems, such as: 

  • Increased cholesterol
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • High risk of heart disease
  • Excessive weight gain

We can go on for a long time here, but the simple truth is that binge eating is bad for your body. 

Hang on a second - everyone knows this. We all know that eating unhealthy foods is bad for us, so why do we use it as a crutch for mental health conditions? As it turns out, studies show that high-fat and high-sugar foods recruit the brain’s reward regions. In doing so, this triggers your brain’s reward response and your body releases chemicals like dopamine. 

For those who don’t know, dopamine is the main pleasure hormone in your body. It makes you feel happy or satisfied when released. Funnily enough, people with depression or anxiety disorder are found to have a chemical imbalance whereby their brain can’t release normal amounts of dopamine. So, when you eat bad foods and this chemical is released, it makes you feel “better”. 

That’s why you continue to do this despite being well aware that eating rubbish foods is terrible for your health. As touched upon already, binge eating becomes a crutch. You feel worse when you aren’t eating bad foods, so you increase your intake day by day. 

It can lead you down a terrible path that results in long-term - and possibly irreversible - physical health problems. Kick this habit and eat healthily instead. You’ll see positive changes in your body that will lead to positive mental changes too. It takes longer to see these improvements, but it’s worth it! 

The Lowdown On Looking After Your Mental Health

We’ll end things with a little conclusion that goes over some of the key talking points in this post. 

First and foremost, avoid these ways of dealing with mental health conditions: 

  • Turning to drugs or alcohol
  • Becoming fully reliant on prescription medication
  • Using unhealthy eating habits as a crutch

The underlying theme is to avoid ideas or things that bring an instant yet temporary sense of relief. Don’t get into the bait of depending on things to make you feel better. This is such an unhealthy way of approaching any health problem - yet it’s worse when your mental well-being is involved. 

Recovering from or treating mental health issues is possible, but it will take time. Don’t expect results overnight; you need to put effort into working on yourself and making changes in your life. It starts by talking to others. Get your thoughts out of your mind and into the open air. See a therapist if you have to, or talk to your doctor. Then, make healthy lifestyle changes and follow treatment plans outlined by trained professionals. It’s a long road, but you’ll feel so much better in the end. 

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