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9 Ways to Help Those Who Love Disorder Patients

9 Ways to Help Those Who Love Disorder Patients

It can be devastating to families and friends when someone is diagnosed with a major disorder, such as ADD, anxiety or depression. The number one priority is, of course, the person who is suffering. However, the people who love the patient also are suffering, and their needs are often overlooked.

Loved ones of disorder patients might not suffer from disorder symptoms. But they face many challenges as they support the person they love. As a disorder patient goes through diagnosis and treatment, loved ones will experience strong feelings, challenges and victories right along with the patient. In fact, supporting a person with a serious disorder can be as challenging as having the disorder itself.

When things get better, the patient often feels a sense of relief. Their loved ones don’t feel the same relief. But they do feel their own kind of relief.

To help loved ones of disorder patients, remember these important things:

1. The disorder disrupts the lives of family and friends, too.

Certainly, the primary focus should be on the patient. However, it’s not easy to incorporate doctors’ appointments, worry, routine changes and other challenges of dealing with a disorder in the family.

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As arrangements are made for treatment and routines change at home, be sensitive to everyone’s needs. Even the patient will feel better knowing the people he or she loves are being taken care of.

2. Friends and family of disorder patients experience strong feelings.

We tend to want to look to caregivers and loved ones for strength when someone has been diagnosed with a major disorder. It’s often the strength of a loved one that helps the patient cope.

However, because families and friends love the patient, they also will be dealing with many challenging feelings: fear, anger, worry, frustration. Counseling can help. At a minimum, be aware and be gentle.

3. Guilt is often the secret challenge of those who love disorder patients.

Even if it doesn’t make sense, friends and family of disorder patients often harbor a secret feeling they have either caused the disorder or have made it worse. They might also feel guilty that they can’t do more to help the person they love.

Help them by persuading them to see their innocence in the situation and see that there are many things they CAN do.

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4. Loved ones of disorder patients don’t have all the answers.

This is important for both loved ones themselves and patients to remember. Dealing with a major disorder is challenging, and even medical professionals struggle to understand and successfully treat those who suffer.

A patient doesn’t always know how to explain what’s wrong. Friends and family sometimes don’t have the strength to take control of the situation. To solve this problem, work together and be patient.

5. Loved ones of disorder patients experience grief.

Just as a patient can go through all the stages of grief in dealing with a disorder, so do family and friends go through similar stages. They may think, “Why me?” Although this sounds selfish, it is realistic and normal.

Depending on the state of the patient, some discussion of this may help bring things out into the open and actually improve the patient’s outlook. In other cases, loved ones should look elsewhere for support in resolving their grief, so they don’t add to the stress of the patient. Consult with medical professionals to determine what’s best.

6. Caregivers of disorder patients often need treatment too.

The stress of helping a friend or family member face a major health disorder can cause health problems on its own. Be sure loved ones of disorder patients are consulting with physicians and counselors to relieve the stress and learn techniques specifically designed for families and caregivers.

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Temporary medication and regular counseling sessions might be in order. In the end, helping the caregiver stay healthy and strong could directly influence positive progress of the patient.

7. Loved ones of disorder patients don’t always want to talk about the disorder.

There is more to life than the disorder. It might sound harsh, but even the patient feels this! If too much time is spent thinking about the disorder and working on helping the patient feel better, it adds to stress.

Spending too much time on the disorder also can cause confusion and make it difficult to see things clearly, just as when you get too close to anything. Take time to address the disorder, but also take time to do normal things in life.

8. Disorder patients and those who love them need to have fun.

There is a time to be serious and a time to let loose and have fun. Laughter and joy can be very healing, not only for disorder patients, but for those who love for them and care for them.

If someone you know is struggling in their care of a loved one with a disorder, you can help by taking them out of the house, finding something enjoyable to do, giving them someone to talk to, and helping them enjoy life, if even just for a few hours.

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9. Loved ones of disorder patients sometimes have their own disorders.

It’s not uncommon for members of the same family, or people who experienced the same triggering event (such as a death) to be dealing with the same disorder symptoms or others. In this case, the caregiver is also a patient who has unique symptoms and issues of his or her own.

Everyone involved must recognize the challenges each person faces and do their best to help within the situation. Professional consultation is often necessary to help a family or group of friends sort out the complexities of multiple disorders within the same group of people.

Support those who support the disorder patient

Friends and family of disorder patients, in a way, share the disorder with the patient, because it affects their lives too. They also share in the joy and sense of accomplishment when the patient gets better.

The key to sustaining the health and well-being of both a disorder patient and the people who love him or her is to be thoughtful, gentle, and aware of the challenges everyone is facing. Make allowances for mistakes and frustrations. Seek professional help when needed.

The primary focus always should be on getting the patient better, but supporting those who support the patient is often overlooked. Care for the caregiver is a vital element of any patient’s well-being and progress.

Featured photo credit: I’m Light Painting Again/Rob Boudon via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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