Life Care Planning for Anxiety and Depression
In other blog posts I’ve published in the last few months (here, here, and here), we’ve gone into depth on various applications of life care planning specific to certain conditions and injuries. The challenges created by a chronic illness or serious injury are vast enough in scope that we can never cover them all. But it’s no surprise that almost always, these challenges extend past the physical realm into the emotional and the psychological. Today, I want to begin a conversation on the mental health changes we often see taking place in the wake of a catastrophic life event.
With the cases I see and consult on, mental health crises factor in almost every single time. These are people who have had their routine—their way of life—taken away from them abruptly and without warning. As I have said many times, folks I see, with rare exceptions, have “forever losses”.
The obvious physical injuries are one thing. In some ways, they are the easier diagnoses. Most often, however, we’re also looking at general anxiety disorders and/or major depression. Conditions such as these directly impact family. They impact work, sleep, and general well-being. They deserve equal consideration if a patient has any chance of recovery.
Mental Health Conditions: Looking for Red Flags
Let’s talk about some of the things I look for in a standard mental health screening. It goes without saying that these screenings are customized to the client and the nature of their condition, but there are some generalities we can speak to here.
Ask the Right Questions: Basic screening questions include queries about patient quality of life. I want to know if they’re sleeping and eating well. If they’re restless and cannot sit still, or if they cannot get out of bed in the morning. We want to see if they’re highly irritable, lashing out at their loved ones.
Contact a Specialist (or team of specialists): My responsibility is to determine and detect. Once I have a basis for treatment, both medication and therapy are on the table. That means I’m getting the right specialist involved, or a team of specialists: licensed mental health counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists, trauma counselors.
Stop the Stigma of Anxiety and Depression Disorders
Our society remains heavily judgmental regarding mental health conditions. They recieve short shrift or are ignored entirely. My team understands how important it is to treat mental disorders; it’s just as important as addressing the physical problems. We work to “find the joy.” Once we are grateful and happy the physical injuries can oftentimes heal faster. It is not optimal to keep people stuck in anxious and depressive states, unable to heal as quickly.
I’m afraid our diagnoses of mental health conditions will only rise in today’s climate. This is why we continue to teach self-care, self-soothing, staying on a schedule, and reliance on experts who can assist. We are working to prevent coping mechanisms like going back to destructive old habits and addictions; succumbing to trauma. It can set healing back by months or years.
We’ve started the conversation; now help me to continue. Click here to set up a consultation with myself and my team so that we can make sure your mental health needs are being adequately met. If you’d like to do some work on your own first to see if anxiety or depression are a factor for you, click here to explore the symptoms further.