Those faced with mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression, may find yourselves being dependent on others for basic needs. However, a lack of independence can increase mental health concerns. Committing to mental health treatment means building independence, taking responsibility for your actions, and learning to care for yourself.
Building independence is also an important tool in addiction recovery. Many people with mental health disorders also develop substance use disorder (SUD). Therefore, learning to care for yourself and be independent can help to improve your mental health and aid in recovery from addiction.
When you have a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, you may struggle to care for yourself. While your experiences may differ from others, mental health impacts your ability to function daily. It can be challenging to go to work, exercise, and care for your basic needs.
The impairment of daily functioning often results in chaos. Your loved ones may try to help. In doing so, you may find yourself dependent on them to function. This may include getting help for one or more of the following:
Knowing that you depend on others for things like this can lower your self-esteem and confidence, too, leading to more struggles with mental health.
Becoming more dependent on others to meet your basic needs is common when struggling with poor mental health. However, you can learn to be independent. When learned, it is a skill that can help improve your overall mental health.
Researchers have found that when you learn to be more independent, your mental health can improve, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is due to self-care creating positive emotions. When you feel capable and can meet your own needs, you take responsibility for your life. In doing so, you improve your life satisfaction and feel better.
Another reason building independence improves mental health is because your needs are felt internally. While you can communicate with others, only you know what is best. When independent, you can meet these needs. However, in being dependent, there are significant barriers. Your loved ones want to help but cannot always do so.
Often, untreated anxiety or depression may lead to SUD. Learning to be independent is also integral in building a sober life. Researchers have found that while commonly overlooked, self-care is vital to addiction recovery.
Lack of self-care commonly proceeds relapse. Therefore, building a foundation of independence can help in treatment and long-term addiction recovery. Pathways Wellness Center understands that when you hit stressful times, you can use self-care skills to manage stress healthily.
Pathways Wellness Center knows that learning to function independently is a vital skill that takes time to learn. However, it is possible. There are multiple parts of learning to live independently, including taking responsibility and learning necessary life skills.
Learning to take responsibility is essential for independence. This means that you recognize and own up to what is your part. In self-care, this means taking responsibility for your own needs.
For example, when you need basic necessities like food, water, or shelter, you must address these needs yourself. This means learning how to provide for yourself.
Taking responsibility is the first step to building independence. After learning to distinguish what your responsibility is, you can learn the necessary skills to do so.
The term “life skills” refers to behaviors that help to cope with multiple aspects of life. They are essential in becoming independent as they allow you to care for your needs.
Life skills include the following:
While many of these skills are learned at a young age, some people may be missing certain life skills. However, mental health disorders and SUD can also decrease the use of life skills you may have previously used.
Part of mental health and addiction treatment is learning new and re-integrating old life skills into your life. You can improve your life by learning to manage your finances, communicate with others, and care for your physical and mental needs.
These skills will look different for each individual as they rely on your preferences. For many, SUD is a maladaptive coping mechanism to deal with the stressful parts of life. Developing life skills helps manage stress. For those with mental health disorders and SUD, learning life skills cultivates independence while maintaining sobriety.
Mental health disorders and addiction commonly cooccur. Building independence can help to improve both. Learning to take responsibility for your own needs is the first step. Secondly, you need to learn skills that help you to be confident moving forward. At Pathways Wellness Center, we believe that each client has the ability to learn new skills that will help them be successful in recovery. We create individual treatment programs that help each client take responsibility and learn the life skills they need to build a sober life. If you or your loved one is struggling to function independently due to mental health or addiction, we can help. To start your journey toward independent living, call us today at (888) 771-0966.