If you have a teenager who is struggling with dissociative disorder, there are things you can do to help. Here are some tips to get you started.
Dissociative disorders are mental health conditions that involve disruptions or changes in a person’s thoughts, memories, surroundings, and identity. Dissociative disorders usually develop as a way to cope with trauma. Teenagers with dissociative disorders may have trouble functioning at home, school, and work. If you know someone who has dissociative disorder, there are things you can do to help.
Understand what dissociative disorder is
When it comes to understanding what dissociative disorder is, the key is to recognize the general nature of the condition so that you can be most supportive. Dissociative disorder usually causes changes in a person’s self-identity, memory, consciousness, and/or perception of the environment that are hard for others to figure out or understand. The cause is often trauma, environmental stressors, or even a genetic predisposition. Friends and family should remember that it is not necessarily something caused by any one person’s behavior. But knowing about this condition is important if we want to understand the limits and needs of people who live with it when it starts or gets worse. A dissociative identity disorder is a common type of dissociative disorder that involves changes in identity, memory, and behavior. Plus, it can present itself differently to different people.
Learn the warning signs
When it comes to teens and any form of mental illness, it is especially important to be aware of the warning signs. With dissociative disorder, this can mean changes in behavior, like avoiding social situations more or stopping doing things you used to enjoy. Other indications that may require attention are trouble staying focused, difficulty remembering details, and complaints of physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches with no clear medical cause. It can also help if family and friends are familiar with the common symptoms of dissociative disorder, such as memory issues or identity confusion, as those may point towards underlying issues that can be addressed earlier. A thorough understanding of this condition can be vital for helping a young person who is struggling emotionally.
Talk to your child about their feelings
Talking to your teen about their thoughts and feelings is a crucial part of helping them cope with their dissociative disorder. At first, it might feel scary or awkward, but remember that being honest about your feelings can be very helpful. Start by asking gentle and open-ended questions. Encourage your teen to talk about what they are feeling, the situations in which it arises, how it manifests, and even how it has changed since their diagnosis. Let your child know that you are available to talk whenever they need someone to listen. You can also set up regular check-in times to make sure the conversation stays going. Your willingness to help them through these hard times will not only strengthen the bond between you and your child, but it will also help them heal.
Seek professional help
Teen dissociative disorder can be an incredibly difficult mental health condition to face and cope with, making it especially important that those suffering from this disorder seek professional help. It is important to remember that even the most caring friends and family cannot make all of the struggles simply go away – in fact, trying to do so without any outside intervention could even be detrimental. Professional help can provide a range of services, such as education and management skills that would be difficult to receive otherwise. Although it may seem hard at first to reach out for professional assistance, it is truly beneficial in the long run; teens with a dissociative disorder who seek out treatment options will have better-coping mechanisms and eventually find peace within themselves.
Be supportive and understanding
Supporting a friend or family member with a dissociative disorder can be extremely difficult, but there are strategies to help them cope. One of the best things that someone can do is simply listen and be understanding – by showing a genuine interest in their struggles, making sure they feel comfortable talking about it, and expressing empathy for their particular situation. Being able to talk openly about their mental health is an invaluable gift for any teen dealing with this disorder; it helps them accept what’s going on and encourages help-seeking behavior. It’s also important to know when the person may not be ready to talk about their disorder, so that they can set the pace of the conversation. Providing a safe haven where they can express themselves without feeling judged or rejected can provide an immeasurable foundation of support as they navigate through this difficult time.
Dissociative disorder in teens can be a difficult and frightening experience for both the teen and their family and friends. It is important to understand what dissociative disorder is and learn about the warning signs so that timely action can be taken if it is present. If a dissociative disorder is suspected, talking to your teen about their feelings and providing them with support and understanding are important steps. In the end, the teen should get professional help so that they can live a healthy life with less mental stress.