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How to Help My Adult Daughter with Mental Illness

If you’re unsure about how to cope with your adult daughter’s mental illness, please know that you are not alone. Supporting a loved one who is in crisis can be confusing and frustrating, but don’t give up hope. You don’t have to be a mental health expert to continue playing an essential role in your daughter’s life.

Signs Your Daughter Has a Mental Illness

The process of helping and coping begins with understanding. Before you can determine the best way to assist your daughter, you will want to be sure you have a firm grasp on the nature of the challenge she is facing.

The following are common signs that could indicate that your adult daughter may have a mental illness:

  • She undergoes dramatic shifts in mood, attitude, and energy.
  • She appears to have been neglecting her appearance and personal hygiene.
  • She often has outbursts of anger or sadness for no obvious reason.
  • Her eating and sleeping habits have changed.
  • She has unintentionally lost or gained a significant amount of weight.
  • She has stopped participating in hobbies, sports, or other activities that she had previously enjoyed.
  • She has begun to frequently miss school or work without being noticeably ill or injured.
  • Her performance in school or at work has declined precipitously.
  • She has begun to pull away from you, other family members, and her friends.
  • She seems to lack focus, purpose, or motivation.
  • She has trouble focusing and concentrating.

On their own, none of the signs listed above are conclusive proof that your adult daughter has a mental illness. But if she has been exhibiting a multitude of these signs, she may be in crisis. 

The best way to know if your daughter has developed a mental health disorder (and, if so, to identify which type of illness she has) is to convince her to schedule an assessment with a qualified mental health professional. Once she has an accurate diagnosis, you can begin to evaluate treatment options.

If your daughter is resistant to being assessed or seeking treatment, that doesn’t mean that the situation is hopeless. As we’ll discuss in greater detail in the next section, there are several steps you can take to learn how to cope with your daughter’s mental illness while continuing to try to connect her with the care that can improve her life.

How to Cope with Your Daughter’s Mental Illness

Here are four suggestions for how to cope with your daughter’s mental illness in a healthy and productive manner:

  • Acknowledge what you can (and cannot) control. For example, you can’t make your daughter’s symptoms disappear, nor can you force her to get treatment. But you can control how you respond to her struggles, you can make a conscious effort to ensure that she knows she has your full support, and you can decide to be the best possible advocate on her behalf. 
  • Don’t be afraid to talk with close friends or trusted family members. When you’re struggling to determine how to cope with your daughter’s mental illness, you may be hesitant to discuss what you’ve been going through. This self-imposed isolation can deprive you of valuable interpersonal support at a time when you may need it most. It can also demonstrate to your daughter that you believe mental illness is something to be ashamed of.
  • Ask questions – and keep asking them until you get the answers you need. Once your daughter has a diagnosis, you may want to contact mental health experts or support groups in your area to gain a better understanding of what your daughter is experiencing. When the time comes to pick a treatment provider, don’t hesitate to request information about their programming in general as well as their specific plan for helping your daughter.
  • Get professional help for yourself. The impact of a mental health disorder isn’t limited to the individual who actually has the condition. If you neglect your own needs, you will undermine your ability to provide the full support that your daughter needs. Talking to a therapist, counselor, or spiritual advisor can help you process your experiences and develop effective strategies for dealing with the challenges you and your daughter have been facing.

Treatment Options for Mental Illnesses

In general, treatment for mental illness often involves a combination of medication, therapy, and education. Determining the specific elements of care that are right for your daughter will require a thorough review of her history and needs, as well as an honest discussion about her goals and expectations.

With these factors in mind, she may benefit from one or more of the following programs:

Within these programs, your daughter’s care may include elements such as the following:

How to Select the Right Treatment Center for Your Daughter

When you are helping your daughter evaluate mental health treatment centers, getting answers to the following questions can help you identify the provider that is best for her:

  • Does the center offer personalized treatment plans and multiple levels of care? 
  • How will the center determine the full scope of your daughter’s mental health needs?
  • What types of therapies and support services does the center offer?
  • How will your daughter’s treatment team decide which therapies and services are right her?
  • What are the qualifications of the professionals who will care for your daughter?
  • How long will your daughter need to remain in treatment?
  • What will a successful treatment outcome look like for your daughter?
  • Does the center offer programming for parents or other adult family members?
  • Does the center offer discharge planning or aftercare support services?

Find Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta

Peachtree Wellness Solutions offers customized residential and outpatient programming for adults whose lives have been disrupted by anxiety, depression, and a host of additional mental health concerns. When your daughter is at our mental health treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, you can rest assured that she will be cared for by a team of highly skilled and exceptionally compassionate professionals.

To learn more about our programs and services, or to schedule a free assessment for your daughter, please visit our admissions page or call us today.