There are certain things I have learned as I have gone through mental health and substance abuse treatment that I think are worth sharing.  Below is a list of 10 bits of advice if you have a mental illness or addiction.

  1. If an insurance company covers mental health and substance abuse treatment, it must be at the same level as physical illness or injury, this is mental health parity.
  2. Often therapy is approved by number of sessions. If you had 4 sessions approved and your therapist and you believe at the end of those 4 sessions you would continue to benefit, the therapist can submit paperwork to get more sessions approved.
  3. You are your best advocate.
  4. If you miss work for treatment, you can leave it at “I was sick”. You do not need to share the nature of your illness with your employer.
  5. There are extreme differences in price from one rehab to the next, with and without insurance. If you are able to, shop around for the best fit for you.
  6. Full disclosure of mental illness and substance abuse to medical professionals is always a good idea.
  7. ER doctors don’t always take into account your past addictions, so always ask what a medication is before taking it and know that you have the right to refuse.
  8. Be honest with your mental health team and practice the therapy techniques they provide (such as a gratitude journal or mindfulness).
  9. Practice good sleep hygiene.
  10. Remember HALT. Hungry.  Angry.  Lonely.  Tired.  If you aren’t feeling quite right and you are any of those, try fix it.  Eat.  Take calming breaths. Call someone.  Take a nap.