Mental health is a family matter for many people affected by these conditions. Not only is it possible for mental health conditions to run in families, but the ability for family members to support their loved ones with mental health disorders helps them successfully manage symptoms to enjoy a better quality of life.
Mental health conditions can run in families
Taking a family history for the presence of mental health disorders is an important part of assessing mental health conditions because these conditions have genetic components that make them inheritable. It is common to learn that people with mental health conditions have relatives with the same or similar conditions. Research indicates that forty percent of people with depression may have inherited the genes responsible for this condition. Extensive study into anxiety disorders and neuroticism asserts that genetics play a role in the development of these disorders and thirty percent of diagnosed cased may be inherited. When parents and other relatives receive diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions, they benefit future generations by identifying potential symptoms which may indicate the onset of these conditions and, potentially, which interventions are successful in relieving symptoms.
Family and home environment
Family life can sometimes be complicated, and some family relationships or home environments may play a role in the development or perpetuation of mental health problems. Family problems do not have to be severe or apparent to negatively impact the mental health of its members. While domestic violence or problematic substance use in the home are widely known to be deeply detrimental, other less apparent factors may also cause problems. Overwork may cause parents or spouses to be constantly stressed, irritable, and not present. Poor communication may make it difficult for family members to feel trusting of other members. Even financial hardship can put strain on family members. The stresses caused by family problems can lead to the development of mental health disorders, make it harder to seek treatment, and worsen existing mental health disorder symptoms. For these reasons, mental healthcare often aims to understand and address the family system to create a safe and supportive environment that promotes better mental health.
Some family system problems can be severe and apparent, like domestic violence, substance misuse, Dysfunctional family dynamics can cause severe or persistent stress, poor self-image, or even physical harm. Other aspects of home life, including substance misuse in the home, poverty or economic hardship, domestic violence, and other problems represent adverse life events that create emotional stress and pain.
Family and friends as mental health allies
Family members and friends that understand their loved one’s mental health conditions can be some of their most supportive allies and advocates. At Futures, we provide psychoeducation to identified family members so that they can learn how to reduce situations that my increase symptoms, how to help loved ones stay on track with their care plan, and how to get them additional help if needed.