Identifying and Stabilizing Different Types of Crises

Identifying and Stabilizing Different Types of Crises

You may have heard of physical health crises, such as heart attacks and strokes, but do you know that mental health crises can be equally devastating? Most individual crises cannot be fully predicted, but there are always warning signs. Unfortunately, a lack of education on mental health issues and delayed treatments often hinder early intervention. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention can help both you and your families get prepared for different types of crises.

Identifying a Crisis

What distinguishes a mental health crisis from an emergency or are these the same thing? When the word “crisis” is used, it refers to some acute and overwhelming symptoms that make it difficult for a person to function normally in life. People of all ages, genders, races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds may experience a mental health crisis.

The danger of a crisis is that it is unstable and may lead to self-harm practices such as suicides. A person’s coping mechanisms may have all been exhausted. The causes are often complex, including external events, addiction, or personality traits. But most crises have warning signs before they evolve into full-blown ones. Below are some signs that should raise red flags:

  • Lack of interest in eating
  • Loss of sleep over a period of time
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene
  • Social isolation
  • Mood swings
  • Aggressive behaviors

Types of Crises

Some mental health crises are situational. Events including job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, diagnosis of a terminal illness, and the death of a child can all trigger a nervous breakdown, which may worsen into a full-blown mental health crisis. These external circumstances are just too challenging to bear. It may be even more difficult for people with pre-existing mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression.

Individuals living with mental health illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia are more vulnerable under the influence of stressors. Because they already display some symptoms of ill health, it can be challenging to detect early signs of a full-blown mental health crisis. Even when a person is receiving the intervention, a crisis can happen. Following the crisis, there is also a higher risk of psychotic thinking. There is absolutely a need for continued treatment and monitoring.

Stabilizing Different Types of Crises

To balance or stabilize a crisis, there are several factors at work. Firstly, a person’s perception of the overwhelming event plays a huge role. If he or she is supported to adopt a more realistic perception, there can be restoration. The best strategy is to help this person better distinguish the relationship between an event and negative feelings.

Many resources and support are needed to stabilize a person in crisis. If there are multiple sources of support, it would be more effective. These can be family and friends who reflect a positive view of this person and support with appraisals. When a person feels valued and appreciated, they will regain the mental strength to cope with an overwhelming event.

When a person is in a mental health crisis, their coping mechanisms will be tested. We know that everyone has both negative and positive coping mechanisms. It is important to strengthen the positive ways while reducing the risk of maladaptive practices. For example, substance use may become a maladaptive coping mechanism for an individual in crisis. But that will not ultimately pull a person from emotional stress. Quite the contrary, continued substance use may create dependence which worsens a person’s cognitive abilities and mental health.

Building a Sustainable Crisis Care Continuum

When it comes to crisis intervention, many people think of crisis call centers, emergency rooms in hospitals, and 911. In a sustainable crisis care ecosystem, the role of crisis stabilization facilities is crucial. These are places staffed with experts who specialize in assessing and stabilizing different types of crises.

Most other key providers in crisis care only do a few follow-ups. But the staff and mental health experts in crisis stabilization facilities understand how important aftercare is. They can provide ongoing care until a person learns strong coping mechanisms to prevent the next crisis.

Best Practices in Crisis Care

Crisis mental health care has not always been consistent and adequate. When aligned with the best practices, crisis intervention should offer a few benefits. First, there should be an effective strategy for self-harm prevention. This strategy should also align with a person’s unique needs. Secondly, when mental health and substance addiction issues co-occur in a crisis, there needs to be a continuum of treatment and aftercare.

Crisis care practices that are short-sighted and inadequate may deplete resources in emergency departments or law enforcement. When a mental health crisis escalated to someone needing inpatient healthcare, that is not an efficient use of community-based services. It is therefore essential to prevent and stabilize a crisis by working with quality facilities that provide intervention as well as long-term care. You will find all of these at Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention and our crisis stabilization unit.

Mental health crises can quickly become severe. They prevent people from functioning day-to-day and can lead to self-harm risks. Unfortunately, not all crisis response centers offer continued care. That is why you need to find a dedicated crisis stabilization facility for yourself or your loved one. If you are in the San Diego region, you do not need to look beyond Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention. Here, our staff and experts specialize understand that when mental health and substance addiction issues co-occur in a crisis, there needs to be a continuum of treatment and aftercare. Call Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention at (866) 986-1481 to learn more about our programs and seek treatment.