An Online Psychiatrist Can Help Your Partner Manage Their Mental Illness
By Joy Youell
Updated April 29, 2020
Reviewer Dawn Brown
It can be heartbreaking to watch your partner struggle with a mental illness. Maybe you don't have any experience with it because you've never suffered from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or any other mental illness yourself. Mental illness is a real condition that is treatable. This does mean that is often requires treatment.
It can be challenging to understand a condition that you haven't experienced yourself and you may feel helpless watching your partner struggle. When you notice that your partner is struggling with their mental illness despite seeing a therapist regularly, they might benefit from working with an online psychiatrist.
Why Psychiatry Helps Mental Illnesses
Some mental illnesses can be managed with therapy alone, whereas others require medication in conjunction with treatment. One of the best ways to treat cases with psychotic features such as Schizophrenia or severe Bipolar Disorder is medication. It's important to note that medication is a short-term solution that alleviates symptoms. If clients want to work toward long-term solutions and recovery, a combination of psychotherapy and medication is recommended.
Bipolar Disorder (with or without symptoms of psychosis) responds well to medication. It can improve the quality of a person's life significantly by allowing the highs and the lows that come with the condition to become less pronounced. It's essential for you, as the partner of a person with mental illness, to support your significant other in getting well no matter what their treatment plan is.
When Your Partner is Self-Destructive
Nobody wants to see their partner in pain or using self-destructive behaviors. When a person is experiencing pain, they may act in negative ways. For some people, this brings a temporary sense of relief. For example, some people use self-injurious behaviors like cutting. Others might engage in substance abuse or eating disorder behaviors that harm them. You can provide support, but not endorsement, of your partner.
Remember that self-destructive behavior of any kind represents a significant problem and potential for lasting damage. If you suspect that your partner is suicidal, call 1-800-273-8255, which is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. You may also want to ask for access to your partner's therapist. In the event that you observe escalating, self-destructive behavior, you may feel the freedom to alert this professional to that.
Encourage Your Partner to Get Help
Seeing a psychiatrist is not easy for some people. The unknown territory of talk therapy and mental health treatment can be a barrier to success. You have the opportunity to provide an encouraging and supportive voice for their mental wellness by encouraging treatment.
Some people have tried taking medication for mental health issues already. If your partner is new to taking medication, they might be afraid. It could be hard for them to get used to. Not knowing what to expect can deter people from getting the right help.
As their partner, you can assure them that they're doing the right thing by helping themselves get well. An online psychiatrist is an excellent provider who can prescribe the appropriate kind and amount of medication that will help them. It'll take trial and error to find the right treatment plan, but they will get there.
You Can't Be a Substitute for Your Partner's Medication
When you're dating a person with a mental illness, you may have difficulty seeing them in pain. It's hard to watch someone you love suffer. You can't wave a magic wand to stop them from hurting. You can't fix their problems. You can support them when they have tough times, but you cannot take their pain away.
It can be heartbreaking to watch your partner suffer through mania, depression, panic attacks or hallucinations. Medications can help with these issues. You will not be able to alleviate their symptoms. But you can provide a great sense of support to your partner while they find the right medication that works for them.
Finding the right medication that works for your partner will be trial and error. Sometimes you get lucky and find a drug that works well on the first shot. Other times, it can take a couple of times to find the psychiatric medicine that will work for your partner. You need to help your partner understand that getting on the right medication is a process.
Medication Changes Can be Tough
Mental illness is brutal to live with at times. It's particularly hard when you are transitioning from one medication to another. Try to understand that when you're supporting your partner through a medication change, there is a real major struggle.
When your partner is working with an online psychiatrist, just like any other psychiatric professional, they will be trying different drugs. Changing medicines is exceptionally challenging for the majority of people who take the psych meds. Your brain is so used to how it feels on a specific dose, and now you're removing medication and introducing a new one. For instance, there may be mood swings.
Try not to take mood swings personally. That being said, it is okay to let your partner know if their behavior hurts you. Having a mental illness doesn't give someone a free pass to disrespect those around them. People struggling with mental health conditions are still capable of taking responsibility for their actions.
As a partner, you might say something along the lines of "I understand that this is a challenging time for you while you're changing medication, but what you said hurt my feelings. " While your partner is changing medicines they might not seem like "themselves." Once they get adjusted to their new medication, they will begin to act more stable. But that does take time. You need to be patient just as much as they do. It can be exhausting to live alongside someone as they go through a med change. Medication changes do subside and the person will get back to a place of stability.
Discussing Mental Illness in Online Couples Counseling
In addition to seeing an online psychiatrist, you and your partner may consider seeing an online couples counselor. Online couples counseling is an excellent place for you to discuss relationship issues.
When dating somebody with a mental illness, specific questions come up. Sometimes you might not understand what your partner is going through, but that doesn't mean you can't be there for them. You can learn ways to support your partner in couples counseling. There may be times that you don't know what to do if your partner is suffering.
If you've never experienced hallucinations (for example), you might not know how to support your partner through them. But, you can ask questions. An online couples counselor is there to help you learn to communicate about mental illness with your partner in a way that they can understand and they feel supported.
Online Counseling for Couples
Being with the love of your life is thrilling. As with every relationship, there will be ups and downs. Relationships are complicated at times and we can all benefit from some outside support. When you're dating a person with a mental illness, there are unique challenges that you face. An excellent place to discuss issues related to dating someone with mental illness is online counseling.
Relationships are an important context in which mental health issues may be amplified. There are proven benefits to undergoing online counseling for a variety of mental health issues. In one survey, 35% of university students said that they would prefer online counseling but not participate in face-to-face counseling. Online counseling is also cost-effective and more accessible than traditional psychological services. Any exercise and communication that improves either partner's mental health will contribute to the overall well-being of a relationship.
Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Anet is very competent at her job. She is trustworthy, doesn't "take sides", asks great questions, is empathetic, and has helped my boyfriend and I in more than just our direct relationship issues… She is also familiar with addiction, that my bf was dealing with. My BF and I have grown significantly closer since we have had our sessions with Anet over the last few months. We understand each other's needs much more now, and as a result, we don't accidentally hurt each other like we used to do. I highly recommend choosing Anet as your counselor."
"Working with Ralph was a great experience for me and my boyfriend. My boyfriend was apprehensive about any form of therapy, but Ralph's approachable and non-judgmental demeanor made it easier for my boyfriend to be receptive to him. He cited a lot of techniques and had us learn and use them in our communication. What helped a lot was also the small attainable goals he helped us set that we actually achieved, which made us feel productive without feeling overwhelmed. He's very flexible with his schedule and always checked in to see how we were doing. I would highly recommend him to any couple who could use some guidance."
You may feel helpless at times, not knowing how to help your partner and support them during the challenging moments of their mental illness. That's where counseling can help. Couples counseling online can be a great support to online psychiatry. No matter what you or your partner are experiencing, with the right tools, there are healthy ways to move forward. Take the first step.