Coping with a Psychiatric Disorder

Helpful Suggestions for People with Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

These guidelines are provided for informational purposes only. The guidelines should not be used to replace the specialized training and professional judgment of mental health professionals. We cannot, and will not, assume the role of a physician or therapist. NAMI Yolo County cannot be held responsible for the use of the information we provide. Please always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others

1. Understand your symptoms and their treatment.

  • Ask your doctor or therapist for information about symptoms, medication and other treatments.
  • Keep a record of your symptoms and the treatment you have received
  • Don’t blame yourself or other people for your illness.

2. Get the best treatment for your symptoms.

  • Find and stick with a psychiatrist you can trust.
  • Take medication as prescribed.
  • Tell the psychiatrist or your family about the effects of medication.

3. Learn how to manage your symptoms from a good therapist or program.

  • Learn to control your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Remove yourself from stress that feels overwhelming.
  • Use time alone to quiet yourself.
  • Learn to recognize the early signs of relapse.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

4. Have and work towards realistic goals.

  • Go slowly but steadily towards being what you want to be.
  • Know your limits (what you can’t do now).

5. Do something constructive every day.

  • Help someone.
  • Make something.
  • Fix something.
  • Learn something.

6. Be with and talk to friends or family every day.

  • Dress and talk normally.
  • Discuss important issues only when you are relaxed.
  • Don’t talk about odd ideas or experiences, except to people who understand you and your symptoms.

7. Be physically active every day.

8. Be as independent as possible.

  • Cherish your good days and the things you can do.
  • Live the most complete life you can.
  • Get out of your home for a while every day.
  • Be close—but not too close—to your family.

9. Avoid street drugs and alcohol.

Source: Dr. Christopher S. Amenson, Pacific Clinics, 128 East Palm, Monrovia CA 91016