Top 40 Most Disturbing Mental Health Posts on Quora

What questions are people asking about mental health? Quora posts indicate that misconceptions and myths related to mental illness and addiction prevail. Read the top 40 most unsettling questions on Quora.com.

By Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

I conducted a Facebook poll to ask about knowledge of mental health. A majority of the respondents (83%) viewed themselves as “very or quite knowledgeable.” Only 17% of those polled reported having little (or no) knowledge.

However, it’s unlikely that my small sample size is representative of the general population. There are many common myths out there about mental health and addiction.

I turned to Quora (an online platform for asking questions) to see what individuals who view themselves as less informed may be asking about mental illness. What I found ranged from thought-provoking to comical to disturbing.

Continue reading for 40 of the most unsettling inquiries I came across. The following Quora question posts illustrate some of the misconceptions surrounding mental disorders.

1. “Is mental illness really an illness?”

2. “Is mental illness catchable?”

3. “Do people with mental disorders have friends?”

4. “Are people who self-harm just looking for attention?”

5. “Is drug addiction really just a lack of willpower?”

6. “Can a person be intelligent and a drug addict?”

7. “Should drug addicts be left to die?”

8. “Why can’t drug addicts just stop? What compels a person to continue with a destructive behavior despite the obvious problems their behavior causes?” (Note: Addiction is a brain disease, which is why someone struggling with substance abuse can’t “just stop.”)

9. “Why should one feel sorry or sympathetic for drug addicts, given most of them chose this life?”

10. “Instead of ‘rescuing’ drug addicts who have overdosed, wouldn’t society as a whole benefit from just letting nature take its course?” (If that was the case, shouldn’t we then withhold all types of medical treatment and preventative or life-saving measures… to allow nature to take its course?)

11. “Is there any country in the world that won in the war against drugs by killing the users or the drug addicts?”

12. “Why should we lament drug addicted celebrities dying of drug-related causes? It’s their fault for starting a drug habit.”

13. “Why save drug addicts from overdosing? From my experience they were problems for their families, a drain on society from their teen years, and won’t get better once addicted.” (All diseases are a drain on society to an extent; that doesn’t mean lives aren’t worth saving.)

14. “How do you differentiate between drug addicts and real homeless people when giving money?” (You don’t; find other ways to help.)

15. “What are the best ways to punish an alcoholic?”

16. “Don’t you think it’s time we stop spreading the myth that alcoholism is a disease? You can’t catch it from anyone. One chooses to drink alcohol.”

17. “Why do people who are oppressed/abused never defend themselves and have pride?”

18. “Why don’t I have empathy for people who end up in abusive or unhealthy relationships? I feel that they deserve it for being such a poor judge of character.”

19. “Why do most women put up with domestic violence?” (Most women?? “Put up”??)

20. “Are schizophrenics aware they’re crazy?”

21. “Are schizophrenic people allowed to drive?”

22. “Do people who become schizophrenic become that way because they are morally conflicted?”

23. “Are schizophrenics able to learn?”

24. “Can a schizophrenic be coherent enough to answer a question like ‘What is life like with schizophrenia?’ on Quora?”

25. “Can one ‘catch’ schizophrenia by hanging out too long with schizophrenics?”

26. “Can schizophrenics have normal sex?” (Yes, or kinky, whichever they prefer)

27. “Why do people ignore the positive impact spanking has on raising children?” (See #28)

28. “Is being spoiled as a child a cause of mental illness such as depression?” (No, but spanking is linked to mental disorders and addiction in adulthood.)

29. “Should mentally ill people be allowed to reproduce?”

30. “Should people with mental illness be allowed to vote?”

31. “Are we breeding weakness into the gene pool by treating and allowing people with physical and mental illnesses to procreate?”

32. “Why are we allowing mental illnesses of sexual orientation disturbance and gender identity disorder that were changed for political reasons, to be accepted like race?”

33. “Why do some people with mental illness refuse to work and live off the government when they are perfectly capable of working?”

34. “Why are mentally disturbed women allowed to have children?”

35. “I feel no sympathy for the homeless because I feel like it is their own fault. Are there examples of seemingly “normal” and respectable people becoming homeless?”

36. “How is poverty not a choice? At what point does an individual stop blaming their parents/society/the government and take responsibility for their own life?” (White privilege at its finest)

37. “Why are mental disorders so common nowadays? Is it just an “excuse” to do bad or selfish things?”

38. “Are most ‘crazy’ people really just suffering from a low IQ?”

39. “Why do some people have sympathy for those who commit suicide? It is very cowardly and selfish to take your life.”

40. “Is suicide part of the world’s survival of the fittest theory?”

Please leave your thoughts/feedback in a comment!

Free Printable PDF Workbooks, Manuals, and Self-Help Guides

A resource list for mental health professionals and consumers. Free PDF manuals/workbooks for group and individual therapy or self-help purposes.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated November 13, 2018

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The following list is comprised of links to over 70 PDF workbooks, manuals, and guidebooks that are published online and free to use with clients and/or for self-help purposes. Some of the manuals, including Individual Resiliency Training and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychotic Symptoms, are evidence-based.

12 Step Workbooks
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for PTSD: Group Manual
After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Yourself After Your Treatment in the Emergency Department (Spanish Version)
After an Attempt A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member after Treatment in the Emergency Department (Spanish Version)
Anger Management for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Clients: Participant Workbook (Spanish Version) (Provider Manual)
Anger Management Workbook
Back To Life: Your Personal Guidebook to Grief Recovery
Basic Anxiety Management Skills
Brief Counseling for Marijuana Dependence: A Manual for Treating Adults
CBT Worksheet Packet, 2017 Edition (Beck Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
The Change Book Workbook
Cognitive Behavioural Interpersonal Skills Manual
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression: Activities and Your Mood (Individual Treatment Version) Provider’s Guidebook
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTi): Treatment Manual
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychotic Symptoms: A Therapist’s Manual
Cognitive Processing Therapy Veteran/Military Version: THERAPIST AND PATIENT MATERIALS MANUAL
The Complete Set of Client Handouts and Worksheets from ACT books by Russ Harris
Comprehensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Social Phobia: A Treatment Manual
Co-occurring Disorders Treatment Workbook
Creating a Healthier Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Wellness (Spanish Version)
Dealing With Trauma: A TF-CBT Workbook for Teens
Depression Self-Management Toolkit
Eating Disorders Anonymous Step Workbook
Favorite Therapeutic Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Interventions
Guidebook on Vicarious Trauma: Recommended Solutions for Anti-Violence Workers
Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression: Thoughts and Your Mood
The ‘Hurt Yourself Less’ Workbook
Illness Management and Recovery: Practitioner Guides and Handbooks
Individual Resiliency Training
Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression in Veterans: Therapist Guide
ISLAMIC INTEGRATED COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY: 10 Sessions Treatment Manual for Depression in Clients with Chronic Physical Illness (Therapist Manual Workbook)
A Journey Toward Health and Hope: Your Handbook for Recovery After a Suicide Attempt
Just as I Am Workbook: A Guided Journal to Free Yourself from Self-Criticism and Feelings of Low Self-Worth
Lemons or Lemonade? An Anger Workbook for Teens
Life With Hope: 12 Step Workbook from Marijuana Anonymous
Manage Stress Workbook
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Client’s Handbook
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Client’s Treatment Companion
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders): Counselor’s Family Education Manual
Matrix Series (Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorder): Counselor’s Treatment Manual
Matrix Series: Using Matrix with Women Clients
Mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Group Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder: A Treatment Manual
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Authorized Curriculum Guide
Motivational Enhancement Therapy Manual: A Clinical Research Guide for Therapists Treating Individuals With Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
On the Wings of Grief: A Bereavement Journal for Adults
Open-Minded Thinking (DBT Workbook)
Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
PREPARE/ENRICH Workbook for Couples
A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals
REBT Depression Manual: Managing Depression Using  Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Refine Your Life Workbook
The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook
Remembering For Good: Wholehearted Living after Loss
Self-Care Depression Program: Antidepressant Skills Workbook
Self-Help Manual for Bulimia Nervosa
Self-Help Workbook: Calming Tools to Manage Anxiety
SMART Recovery Worksheets
Social Anxiety in Schizophrenia: A Cognitive Behavioural Group Programme
Social Skills Training for Severe Mental Disorders: A Therapist Manual
STEP AHEAD Workbook: Career Planning for People with Criminal Convictions
Steps by the Big Book
Survivor To Thriver: Manual and Workbook for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Who Want to Move On with Life
A Therapist’s Guide to Brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Tobacco Cessation: An Abbreviated Mini-Workbook (A Resource for Veterans)
Treatment of Individuals with Prolonged and Complicated Grief and Traumatic Bereavement
Trauma and Resilience: An Adolescent Provider Toolkit
The Trauma-Informed Supervisor
Wellness Action Recovery Plan (WRAP): Personal Workbook
Wellness Self-Management Personal Workbook
Wellness Worksheets, 12th Edition
Women Healing from Trauma: A Facilitator’s Guide
Working Through Self-Harm: A Workbook
Working Toward Wellness
Your Best You: Improving Your Mood

Please comment with links to additional PDF resources for therapy or self-help!

Why Language Matters: 4 Words/Phrases to Stop Saying

Words have power. They are impactful. They can contribute to stigma and divide humanity. To help fight stigma, change your language.

By Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Have you ever been called a bitch? A creep? A whore? An idiot? Maybe someone said you were lazy or worthless or stupid. Words can hurt. They have power. (Consider the power of your name spoken aloud… you immediately respond by answering or turning your head… the sound commands your attention and response.)

Furthermore, words are impactful… not only for the person being labeled, but for an entire group of people. They contribute to stigma while fueling biases. They divide humanity. Retard. White trash. Crazy. Junkie. Nigger. Slut. Spic.

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A while back, a colleague made a racial slur in my presence. He seemed unaware, so I gently corrected him; he immediately lashed back, calling me the “PC Police.” Not only did this person perceive the slur as perfectly acceptable, he seemed to have a negative perception of “political correctness.” It was a joke to him: “People need to stop being so sensitive!” (Um, no… maybe people need to stop being degrading to each other!)

Honestly, I have trouble understanding the negativity surrounding political correctness. Why strive for anything other than accuracy? (Especially knowing the power language holds.)

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If you side against ignorance and want to end the stigma associated with mental illness, change your language. The following words or phrases contribute to stigma:

“Addict”

There are many negative connotations surrounding this word. Similarly, “alcoholic” can be demeaning. A person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol has a medical condition. Instead of calling them an addict (or junkie or tweaker or crackhead), say “individual with a substance use disorder.” Demonstrate the same empathy you would for a person who has cancer or MS or paralysis.

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“Schizophrenic”

Don’t label a person who suffers from mental illness. They are more than the disorder they’re afflicted with. Calling someone “schizophrenic” or “borderline” or “bipolar” reduces them to an illness, not a person. It’s dehumanizing.

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“Retarded”

True, “mental retardation” used to be the diagnostic terminology for classifying individuals with lower IQs. Today, however, it’s mostly used as an insult. The American Psychiatric Association has eliminated the term as a classification; the correct term is “intellectual disability.”

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“Committed suicide”

This phrase suggests that the person who dies by suicide is criminal. Criminals commit crimes. An individual who dies by suicide should not be placed in the same category. Instead, say “died by suicide.” This demonstrates respect for both the individual and their loved ones.

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Words have the power to influence and shape the world. You have power. Be a positive influence and choose to fight stigma instead of contributing to the toxicity.

 

#JunkieLivesDontMatter

A person who struggles with a substance use disorder is choosing that life. Why interfere? (Especially when all that money could be spent saving more DESERVING lives.) “Junkies” don’t deserve second chances because #JunkieLivesDontMatter

By Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

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Disclaimer: If you happen to believe that addiction is a choice – “They’d quit if they really wanted to” or “They made the choice to use; they made the choice to die” – then scroll on to the next blog. You’d only scoff at this post because #JunkieLivesDontMatter

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This blog post is inspired, in part, by a Facebook meme.

The meme said,

“So if a kid has an allergic reaction the parents have to pay a ridiculous price for an Epi pen. But a junkie who has OD’d for their 15th time gets Narcan for free? What a screwed up world we live in.”

Implications: “Junkies” don’t deserve a second chance at life. They’re a waste of resources because they lack the willpower to stop using. A person who struggles with a substance use disorder is choosing that life. Why interfere? (Especially when all that money could be spent saving more deserving lives.)

If you believe it’s screwed up for a “junkie” to have a chance at life (and recovery) because they “chose addiction,” your opinion is contrary to the National Institute of Health, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and decades of scientific research. You’re either ignorant (maybe willfully so) or impressively arrogant. (Alternately, you could just be a jerk.) You’re a part of the movement: #JunkieLivesDontMatter

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Many have joined the movement, as evidenced by the following Facebook posts:

“Out of all of the houses, 2 hobos decided to overdose on my front steps… thank god the medics got here in time to ensure they could die another day…”

“I think we had less ODs before Narcan came on board. They realize they can be saved if gotten to in time. Maybe they need to be locked up & not let out until they attend rehab while in jail.”

“If it can be easily established that they have a recent history of drug [abuse]… then yes… withhold the lifesaving drug because they chose this. It’s harsh, but justice is not served by saving them.”

“If you don’t have it figured [out] by the 3rd overdose, you are just prolonging the inevitable and wasting tax payers money.”

“If we are repeatedly saving your life and you are not willing to change this behavior, why should we be obligated to keep saving you?”

“My personal opinion is we can’t keep letting people overdose and saving them just so they can repeat the cycle.”

“By continuously administering Narcan, sure, we’re saving their life, but are they really living? I don’t think so.”

#JunkieLivesDontMatter

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“No CPR for You, Fatty — You Chose Soda and Fast Food… Now Suffer the Consequences!”

According the the American Psychiatric Association,

Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems.

Addiction is a scientifically proven brain disease. Despite this, many persist in the belief that it’s a choice, or worse… a moral failing. (Note: This notion comes from an early model of addiction, “the moral model,” which was deeply rooted in religion. Addiction was attributed to a sinful nature and weakness of character. Therefore, the addict must repent… or suffer the consequences of his/her actions; addiction warranted punishment, not empathy. Unsurprisingly, this created stigma. It also prevented those struggling with addiction from seeking treatment. Centuries later, many hold on to the view that an individual suffering from a substance use disorder is lazy or weak.)

Today, in the midst of the opioid epidemic, stigma’s unrelenting grip perseveres. Stigma is a poison; it’s dehumanizing. It’s easy to forget a person is a person when you view them as garbage, trash… a “junkie.” Stigma tells us, “Take out the trash.”

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To fully recognize stigma’s impact, compare addiction to other diseases. Consider common medical emergencies; many are related to lifestyle. Imagine being hospitalized after your third stroke, and the doctor telling you, “This is the third time I’ve saved your life, yet you refuse to exercise. I shouldn’t be obligated to continue to provide life-saving care.” Or, imagine a long-time smoker who develops lung cancer; they’re not demeaned, called names, or denied treatment. Moreover, an EMS worker wouldn’t withhold CPR from an individual in cardiac arrest if they were obese. It’s not a debate.

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If You’re Dead, You Have a 0% Chance of Recovery

We’re in the midst of an epidemic.

According to the CDC, 115 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day.

In 2016, over 42,000 individuals died from opioid overdose.

Life expectancy in America is actually declining due to an increase in fatal overdoses.

Narcan does not enable addiction. It enables life. (A dead addict can’t recover.)

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#Recovery #Empathy #FightStigma #EndTheEpedemic #SaveALife


If you live in Fairfax County, sign up for a free REVIVE! Training!

Mental Health, Wellness, and Personal Development Blogs to Follow

A list of 30+ mental health, wellness, and personal development blogs

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

blogs to follow

Creating Mind ReMake Project opened my eyes to a whole world of blogs! There are tons of informative and thought-provoking blog sites out there that share my “niche.” This post lists a variety of blogs related to mental health, wellness, and personal development.

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  1. ACA Counseling Corner Blog

“Thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and strategies for helping you to live a happier and healthier life”

 

  1. Aim Hypnotherapy Blog

Therapist and blogger Aigin Larki blogs about anxiety, addiction, stress, and other mental health topics

 

  1. Anxiety Free World

A blog about coping with anxiety

 

  1. Beyond Meds

Award-winning blog written by ex-patient and mental health professional, Monica Cassani, on topics related to psychotropic meds and mental health

 

  1. Blue Light Blue

Amy McDowell Marlow, a 22-year survivor of suicide loss who lives with mental illness (bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder), blogs about living with mental illness

 

  1. Brave Over Perfect

Dr. Christine Carter and Susie Rinehart write about personal growth topics

 

  1. Brené Brown Blog

Personal growth and development blog

 

  1. David’s Blog

Dr. David Healy is a psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author who blogs about pharmacology and mental health

 

  1. Dr. David Susman Blog

A clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, professor, and writer shares resources and inspiration for better mental health

 

  1. Dr. Melissa Welby Blog

Psychiatry and well-being

 

  1. Dr. Sarah Ravin Blog

A clinical psychologist blogs about psychological issues and evidence-based treatments

 

  1. Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board News

If you live in Fairfax County, VA, sign up for CSB news to receive updates and links to helpful resources

 

  1. The Fractured Light

Living with borderline personality disorder

 

  1. Gardening Love

A unique wellness and lifestyle blog about enhancing mental health and well-being through gardening

 

  1. Healthy Place Blogs

A collection of mental health blogs

 

  1. Heather LeGuilloux Blog

A therapist blogs about mental health topics

 

  1. Info Counselling – Evidence based therapy techniques

Learn about the latest evidence-based treatments and download free therapy worksheets

 

  1. Kim’s Counseling Corner

Kim Peterson, a licensed professional counselor, created Kim’s Counseling Corner, a site with a variety of free downloadable resources for clinicians

 

  1. Love and Life Toolbox

Award-winning blog founded by Lisa Brookes Kift, marriage and family therapist, about marriages, relationships, and emotional health

 

  1. Mindcology

Mental health and self-help posts written by psychologists, counselors, and other mental health practitioners

 

  1. The Mighty

“A digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities”

 

  1. Momentus Institute Blog

A blog dedicated to building and repairing the social emotional health of children

 

  1. MQ Blog

A blog about transforming mental health care through research

 

  1. My Brain’s Not Broken

Living with mental illness

 

  1. NAMI Blog

Advocacy blog

 

  1. On Being Patient

Personal accounts of living with mental illness

 

  1. Our Parent Place

A place for parents with mental illness to connect and learn

 

  1. PsychCentral Mental Health and Psychology Blogs

Blog posts by experts, professionals, and ordinary people who share their insights on a variety of mental health topics

 

  1. Psychology Today Blogs

A large collection of blogs on psychology-related topics, including creativity, intelligence, memory, parenting, and more

 

  1. SAMHSA Blog

“A place where up-to-date information including articles from SAMHSA staff, announcements of new programs, links to reports, grant opportunities, and ways to connect to other resources are located”

 

  1. A Splintered Mind

Douglas Scootey blogs about “overcoming ADHD and depression with lots of humor and attitude”

 

  1. Survival Is a Talent

“A digital platform for individuals to share their Stories of Survival relating to health and wellness”

 

  1. Thriving While Disabled

A blog about living with a disability

 

  1. Your Brain Health 

Dr. Sarah McKay, neuroscientist and blogger, writes about topics related to neurology and mental health


Know of a great blog? Post in a comment!

Helping Vs. Enabling: How to Tell the Difference

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “enable,” it means “to provide with the means or opportunity.” When applied to substance use, it means a person in active addiction is provided with the means to continue to use. With substance use disorders, how can you know the difference between helping and enabling? This post explains how to tell the difference and provides 7 tips for helping a loved one who struggles with addiction.

By Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

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With substance use disorders, how can you know the difference between helping and enabling? I’ve worked with family members who inadvertently fueled their loved one’s addiction. They “helped” by bailing them out of jail, giving them money, etc., which only permitted the individual to continue to get high. It’s hard for family members to differentiate between behaviors that help versus enable.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “enable,” it means “to provide with the means or opportunity” or “to make possible, practical, or easy” (according to Merriam-Webster). When applied to substance use, it means a person in active addiction is provided with the means to continue to use.

When I worked at a substance use treatment center, I taught families and loved ones that helping a person in active addiction means supporting their basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. (If someone is in jail or treatment, their basic needs are met; therefore, bailing them out would be enabling.) Thinking in terms of “needs vs. wants” helps you to recognize enabling.

Recently, I answered a woman’s question on Quora about how to distance herself from her heroin-addicted daughter. The following paragraph is from my response:

Distancing yourself (or setting a boundary) with your daughter will be difficult because you want to help. In the past, by “helping” her, you’ve enabled her addiction (which hurts her in the long run) and leaves you emotionally depleted. There’s a very fine line between helping and enabling; it’s not clear-cut. (Plus, it can be counterintuitive for a parent whose job has always been to protect your child.)

When a parent has a son or daughter who struggles with addiction, it’s especially difficult to make the distinction between helping and enabling. A parent’s natural inclination is to nurture and protect from harm. It’s heart-wrenching to see your child in pain. But if a parent doesn’t set (and adhere to) healthy boundaries, they will quickly become emotionally drained (as they enable their child’s addiction).

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Here are some suggestions for helping (instead of enabling) a loved one who’s actively using:

  1. Never (ever) offer money.

If asked for cash for food, for example, buy groceries instead (or offer to take them to lunch). I worked with a father who bought a bag of groceries for his son, who struggled with severe alcoholism and was homeless, on a weekly basis. This is an excellent example of helping a loved one versus enabling their addiction.

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  1. If asked for help paying bills, say no. 

If your loved one doesn’t have to pay the electric bill, they’ll spend the money on drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, if you protect them from the consequences of not paying bills (i.e. having the power shut off), your loved one is less likely to see a need for change. (People don’t change when they’re comfortable.)

  1. If your loved one is addicted to opioids (heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, etc.), attend a training or take an online course on opioid overdose reversal (Narcan [naloxone] administration).

If you’re unsure where local trainings are offered, a Google search for “Narcan training” or “opioid reversal training” will link you to resources in your area. Most trainings are free. Keep a Narcan kit on your person at all times. Provide your loved one with a kit (or two) as well. This is not enabling. This is potentially saving a life and offering an opportunity for recovery. (A dead opioid-user will never recover.)

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  1. Offer to help them get into treatment.

Become familiar with the different treatment options in your area. Don’t give ultimatums (i.e. “If you don’t get treatment, I’ll divorce you”) or make threats (especially if you’re not willing to follow through). Be supportive, not judgmental. Be patient; when your loved one is emotionally and physically drained from addiction’s painful consequences (or when they hit “rock bottom”), they may decide it’s time to get help. And you’ll be ready.

  1. Recognize that your loved one is not the same person they were before addiction.

Substance use disorder is a debilitating disease that damages the brain; it changes how a person feels and thinks. With addiction, the brain’s reward center is rewired, resulting in a biological “need” for drugs/alcohol. (Compare this to your need for food or water or air.) Your loved one’s addiction will lie to you; they will do whatever it takes to get their “needs” met. Your loved one’s addiction will steal from you. (Lock up your valuables if they have access to your home… and even if they don’t. I’ve worked with more than a few individuals who have broken into their parents’ home for either money for drugs or valuables to pawn for money for drugs.) Your loved one’s addiction will betray you. Accepting the nature of addiction allows you to set healthy boundaries.

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  1. Attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings.

By engaging with others with similar struggles, you’ll learn more about supporting your loved one (without enabling their addiction). You’ll also build a supportive network by connecting with others, strengthening your emotional health.

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  1. When in doubt, try asking yourself one (or all) of the following questions:

Will my actions allow my loved one to continue to drink or use? Is this a “want” versus a basic need? Will my actions prevent them from experiencing a natural consequence? If the answer is yes, it’s probably enabling.

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Addiction is a devastating, but treatable, disease. The road to recovery is difficult and long (with many detours). If your loved one has a substance use disorder, be kind and compassionate; they’re in an unthinkable amount of pain. They didn’t choose addiction. The best way to support them is by setting healthy boundaries to ensure you’re not enabling continued use. Boundaries allow you to help them without furthering their addiction. Boundaries also serve as protection for you and your emotional health; you’re in no position to help if you’re emotionally, financially, and spiritually depleted.

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Please share in a comment your suggestions for helping a loved one who is struggling with addiction.

Free Online Assessment and Screening Tools for Mental Health

Access a variety of assessment tools for mental health and related issues, including mood disorders, relationship attachment styles, suicide risk, communication skills, and domestic violence. This list includes both self-assessments and screening tools for clinicians to administer and score.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated November 21, 2018

How toDIY Your Whole Wedding

The following list will link you to a variety of mental health assessments and screenings. While an assessment can not take the place of a clinical diagnosis, it can give you a better idea if what you’re experiencing is “normal” (when compared to the general population). If your results indicate you may have a problem, it would be wise to schedule an appointment with a therapist or psychologist. (Print your results and bring them with you.)

I’ve also listed sites providing links to tools (including PDF printables) for mental health professionals to use with their clients.

Free Online Assessment and Screening Tools for Mental Health

20 Questions: Are You a Compulsive Gambler?

A short interactive self-assessment  

ACE Questionnaire 

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with a variety of health (both physical and mental) conditions in adults. To find your ACE score, take an interactive quiz. Learn more about ACEs on the CDC’s violence prevention webpage.

You can also download the international version (PDF) from the World Health Organization’s Violence and Injury Prevention webpage.

ADAA Screening Tools

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides links to both printable and interactive tests for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. This site does not provide test results. (It’s recommended that you print your results to discuss with a mental health practitioner.) This is an excellent resource for clinicians to print and administer to clients.  

Adult ADHD Assessment Tools

Links to a PDF toolkit for clinicians. Includes Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V.1.1. (ASRS-V1.1) Symptom Checklist,  Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1. (ASRS-V1.1) Screener (English), Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1. (ASRS-V1.1) Screener (Spanish),  Barkley’s Quick-Check for Adult ADHD Diagnosis (Sample),  Brief Semi-Structured Interview for ADHD in Adults,  Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale Self-Report (WFIRS-S), ADHD Medication Side Effects Checklist, Medication Response Form, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), and CAGE Questionnaire Adapted to Include Drugs

AlcoholScreening.org

An interactive test that gives personalized results based on age, gender, and drinking patterns

Assessment Instruments Developed at the Center for Trauma and the Community

Access the Trauma History Questionnaire and the Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire

Borderline Symptom List and Scoring Instructions

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Citations: Bohus M., Limberger, M. F., Frank, U., Chapman, A. L., Kuhler, T., Stieglitz, R. D. (2007). Psychometric Properties of the Borderline Symptom List (BSL). Psychopahology, 40, 126-132.

Career Assessments

Self-assessments to assess interests, skills, and work values

Demographic Data Scale

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The DDS is a self-report questionnaire used to gather extensive demographic information from the client.

Citations: Linehan, M. M. (1982). Demographic Data Schedule (DDS). University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work.

Depression Self-Assessment

A simple self-assessment tool from Kaiser. Results are provided on a spectrum, ranging from “None” to “Severe” depression.

Diary Cards NIMH S-DBT Diary Card NIDA Diary Card CARES Diary Card

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Domestic Violence Screening Quiz (from PsychCentral)

Interactive test to determine if you’re involved in a dangerous abusive relationship

DrugScreening.org

An interactive test that provides feedback about the likely risks of your drug use and where to find more information, evaluation, and help

Danger Assessment Screening Tool

Clinicians can download a PDF version of this assessment, which helps predict the level of danger in an abusive relationship; this screening tool was developed to predict violence and homicide.

DBSA Mental Health Screening Center

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers screening tools for both children and adults (including versions for parents to answers questions about their child’s symptoms). Take an online assessment for depression, mania, and/or anxiety.

DBT-WCCL Scale and Scoring

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Citations: Neacsiu, A. D., Rizvi, S. L., Vitaliano, P. P., Lynch, T. R., & Linehan, M. M. (2010). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Ways of Coping Checklist (DBT-WCCL).: Development and Psychometric Properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 66(61), 1-20.

Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory

Measurement of deliberate self-harm (PDF)

Drug Abuse Screening Test DAST-10

For clinician use, a PDF version of the DAST-10 – does not give results or scoring instructions

ePROVIDE

For clinical or academic use only. Register to access a variety of assessment tools including Adherence to a Healthy Lifestyle questionnaire (AHLQ), Eating Disorder Inventory, Brief Evaluation of Medication Influences and Beliefs, Marwit Meuser Caregiver Grief Inventory, the Hooked on Nicotine Checklist, Body-Q, and more.

Financial Well-Being Questionnaire

Take this 10-question interactive test and receive a score (along with helpful financial tips)

Grief and Loss Quiz (from PsychCentral)

Take this test to learn if you may be suffering from complicated grief

Happiness Test (from Psychology Today)

A 20-minute interactive test – free snapshot report with the option to buy the full report for $4.95

Imminent Risk and Action Plan

Assessment/plan from the University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Interpersonal Communication Skills Inventory

A PDF self-assessment designed to provide insight into communication strengths and areas for development. Includes scoring instructions.

Keirsey

Take this interactive assessment to learn your temperament. (There are four temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational.) My results were consistent with my Myers-Brigg personality type. (Note: You must create an account and enter a password to view your results.)

Library of Scales (from Outcome Tracker)

25 psychiatric scales (PDF documents) to be used by mental health practitioners in clinical practice. Includes Frequency, Intensity, and Burden of Side Effects Ratings; Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence; Fear Questionnaire; Massachusetts General Hospital Hair Pulling Scale; and more. (Note: Some of the assessments have copyright restrictions for use.)

Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale

Take an interactive self-assessment (from the National Social Anxiety Center) to assess for social anxiety

Lifetime – Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Count (L-SASI) Instructions Scoring

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The L-SASI is an interview to obtain a detailed lifetime history of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior.

Citations: Linehan, M. M. &, Comtois, K. (1996). Lifetime Parasuicide History. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work.

Lineham Risk Assessment and Management Protocol

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Linehan, M. M. (2009). University of Washington Risk Assessment Action Protocol: UWRAMP, University of WA, Unpublished Work.

Mental Health Screening Tools

Online screenings for depression, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction. You can also take a parent test (for a parent to assess their child’s symptoms), a youth test (for a youth to report his/her symptoms), or a workplace health test. The site includes resources and self-help tools.

The Mood Disorder Questionnaire

A PDF screening tool for clinicians to assess symptoms of bipolar disorder

The National Sleep Foundation Sleepiness Test

An interactive test to assess if you are more or less sleepy than the general population

NORC Diagnostic Screen for Gambling Disorders Self-Administered (from the National Council on Problem Gambling)

An interactive 10-question test to assess gambling behaviors

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Assessment Tool Brief Version | Full Version

Assessment tool created by Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery

Open Source Psychometrics Project

This site provides a collection of interactive personality and other tests, including the Open Extended Jungian Type Scales, the Evaluations of Attractiveness Scales, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. On the whole, I’m doubtful of the scientific accuracy of the assessments. (For example, I took the site’s DISC assessment; my score did not match the score I received when I took the certified test through my employer.) Furthermore, the site’s “About” section maintains, “[The site] exists to educate the public… and also to collect research data.” (Collect research data? For who/what?) I would recommend using the site mainly for entertainment purposes (or not at all if you’re concerned about how your personal data is handled).

Parental Affect Test

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The Linehan Parental Affect Test is a self-report questionnaire that assesses parent responses to typical child behaviors.

Citations: Linehan, M. M., Paul, E., & Egan, K. J. (1983). The Parent Affect Test – Development, Validity and Reliability. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 12, 161-166.

Patient Health Questionnaire Screeners

This is a great diagnostic tool for clinicians. Use the drop down arrow to choose a PHQ or GAD screener (which assesses mood, anxiety, eating, sleep, and somatic concerns). The site generates a PDF printable; you can also access the instruction manual. No permission is required to reproduce, translate, display or distribute the screeners.

Project Implicit

A variety of interactive assessments that measures your hidden biases

Psychology Tools

Online self-assessments for addiction, ADHD, aggression, anxiety, autism spectrum, bipolar, depression, eating disorders, OCD, and personality.

Note: These tests may not be entirely accurate. I took the Personality Type Indicator (PTI), which supposedly assesses Myers-Briggs personality type. According to the PTI, I’m an ESFJ… and I’m (indisputably) an INTP. (I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test, several times, with consistent results.) Then again, I took the Social Phobia Inventory, which correctly assessed my social anxiety, and the Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale, which validated my online shopping habits!

Reasons for Living Scale Scoring Instructions | RFL Scale (long form – 72 items) | RFL Scale (short form – 48 items) | RFL Scale (Portuguese) | RFL Scale (Romanian) | RFL Scale (Simplified Chinese) | RFL Scale (Traditional Chinese) | RFL Scale (Thai)

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The RFL is a self-report questionnaire that measures clients’ expectancies about the consequences of living versus killing oneself and assesses the importance of various reasons for living. The measure has six subscales: Survival and Coping Beliefs, Responsibility to Family, Child-Related Concerns, Fear of Suicide, Fear of Social Disapproval, and Moral Objections.

Citations: Linehan M. M., Goodstein J. L., Nielsen S. L., & Chiles J. A. (1983). Reasons for Staying Alive When You Are Thinking of Killing Yourself: The Reasons for Living Inventory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 276-286.

Recovery Assessment Scales

A variety of assessments for individuals recovering from psychiatric illnesses

Risk-Taking Test (from PsychTests)

Self-test to assess your risk-taking behaviors – Receive a snapshot report with an option to buy the full report

Romantic Attachment Quiz (from PsychCentral)

A 41-item quiz to help you determine your romantic attachment style in relationships

SAMHSA Screening Tools

Valid and reliable screening tools for clinicians. This sites links you to PDF versions of assessments/screenings for depression, drug/alcohol use, bipolar disorder, suicide risk, anxiety disorders, and trauma.

The SAPA Project

SAPA stands for “Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment.” This online personality assessment scores you on 27 “narrow traits,” such as order, impulsivity, and creativity in addition to the “Big Five” (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness). You’re also scored on cognitive ability. This test takes 20-30 minutes to complete and you will receive a full report when finished.

My results were, for the most part, indicative of my personality. Here’s the description from my “Order” score: “Your score on the Order scale indicates that you are low in orderliness. This suggests that tidiness is not a top priority for you… You don’t waste time organizing everything to be just perfect but this means others may sometimes view you to be a bit messy.” (If you’ve seen my desk, you know this to be true!)

SCOFF (A Quick Assessment for Eating Concerns Based on the SCOFF)

A screening tool for eating problems

Self-Compassion Scale

Links to a PDF version of the SCS (which assesses self-kindness, self-judgment, mindfulness, and more)

Self-Injury Questionnaire

To assess self-harm (PDF, assessment in appendix)

Severity Assessment

A PDF assessment tool from the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery to assess the severity of non-suicidal self-injury

Sexual Addiction Screening (from PsychCentral)

A brief screening measure to help you determine if you are struggling with sexual addiction

Similar Minds

A fun site for personality tests. (For entertainment only purposes!)

Sleep Assessments from Sleep and Chronobiology Center (University of Pittsburgh)

Download PDF versions of instruments to assess sleep quality, including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Insomnia Symptom Questionnaire

Sleep Disorders Screening Survey

A short, interactive test to screen for sleep disorders

Social History Interview (SHI)

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The SHI is an interview to gather information about a client’s significant life events over a desired period of time. The SHI was developed by adapting and modifying the psychosocial functioning portion of both the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report (SAS-SR) and the Longitudinal Interview Follow-up Evaluation Base Schedule (LIFE) to assess a variety of events (e.g., jobs, moves, relationship endings, jail) during the target timeframe. Using the LIFE, functioning is rated in each of 10 areas (e.g., work, household, social interpersonal relations, global social adjustment) for the worst week in each of the preceding four months and for the best week overall. Self-report ratings using the SAS-SR are used to corroborate interview ratings.

Citations: Weissman, M. M., & Bothwell, S. (1976). Assessment of social adjustment by patient self-report. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 1111-1115.

Keller, M. B., Lavori, P. W., Friedman, B., Nielsen, E. C., Endicott, J., McDonald-Scott, P., & Andreasen, N. C. (1987).  The longitudinal interval follow-up evaluation: A comprehensive method for assessing outcome in prospective longitudinal studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 540-548.

SOCRATES

A PDF version of the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale for clinicians to assess readiness to change in alcohol users

Stanford Medicine WellMD

Self-tests for altruism, anxiety, burnout, depression, emotional intelligence, empathy, happiness, mindfulness, physical fitness, PTSD, relationship trust, self-compassion, sleepiness, stress, substance use, and work-life balance

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

Links to several downloadable versions of the SDQ, which is designed to measure behavioral issues in children ages 4-17

Stress Self-Assessments (from The American Institute of Stress)

A variety of self-assessments to measure stress

Stress Test (from PsychCentral)

A 5-minute interactive test to measure your stress level

Substance Abuse History Interview

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The SAHI is an interview to assess periods of drug use (by drug), alcohol use, and abstinence in a client’s life over a desired period of time. The SAHI combines the drug and alcohol use items from the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Time Line Follow-back Assessment Method to collect information about the quantity, frequency, and quantity X frequency of alcohol and drug consumption.

Citations: McLellan, A. T., Luborsky, L., Woody, G. E., & O’Brien, C. P. (1980). An improved diagnostic evaluation instrument for substance abuse patients: The Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 168, 26-33.

Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire | SBQ with Variable Labels | SBQ Scoring Syntax

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The SBQ is a self-report questionnaire designed to assess suicidal ideation, suicide expectancies, suicide threats and communications, and suicidal behavior.

Citations: Addis, M. & Linehan, M. M. (1989). Predicting suicidal behavior: Psychometric properties of the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement Behavior Therapy, Washington, D.C.

Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII) SASII Instructions For Published SASII | SASII Standard Short Form with Supplemental Questions | SASII Short Form with Variable Labels | SASII Scoring Syntax | Detailed Explanation of SPSS Scoring Syntax

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The SASII (formerly the PHI) is an interview to collect details of the topography, intent, medical severity, social context, precipitating and concurrent events, and outcomes of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior during a target time period. Major SASII outcome variables are the frequency of self-injurious and suicidal behaviors, the medical risk of such behaviors, suicide intent, a risk/rescue score, instrumental intent, and impulsiveness.

Citations: Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., Brown, M. Z., Heard, H. L., Wagner, A. (2006). Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII): Development, Reliability, and Validity of a Scale to Assess Suicide Attempts and Intentional Self-Injury. Psychological Assessment, 18(3), 303-312.

Suicide Risk Screening Tool

One-page PDF screening tool for clinicians (from the National Institute of Mental Health)

Therapist Interview

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The TI is an interview to gather information from a therapist about their treatment for a specific client.

Citations: Linehan, M. M. (1987). Therapist Interview. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work.

Treatment History Interview | Appendices

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

The THI is an interview to gather detailed information about a client’s psychiatric and medical treatment over a desired period of time. Section 1 assesses the client’s utilization of professional psychotherapy, comprehensive treatment programs (e.g., substance abuse programs, day treatment), case management, self-help groups, and other non-professional forms of treatment. Section 2 assesses the client’s utilization of inpatient units (psychiatric and medical), emergency treatment (e.g., emergency room visits, paramedics visits, police wellness checks), and medical treatment (e.g., physician and clinic visits). Section 3 assesses the use of psychotropic and non-psychotropic medications.

Citations: Linehan, M. M. &, Heard, H. L. (1987). Treatment history interview (THI). University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work. Therapy and Risk Notes – do not use without citation. For clarity of how to implement these items, please see Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Book, Chapter 15.

University of WA Suicide Risk/Distress Assessment Protocol

Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Reynolds, S. K., Lindenboim, N., Comtois, K. A., Murray, A., & Linehan, M. M. (2006). Risky Assessments: Participant Suicidality and Distress Associated with Research Assessments in a Treatment Study of Suicidal Behavior. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (36)1, 19-33.

Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., &, Ward-Ciesielski, E. F. (2012). Assessing and managing risk with suicidal individuals. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 19(2), 218-232.

Wellness Self-Assessment

A PDF-version of Princeton University’s tool to measure your wellness in seven dimensions (emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual) – Calculate your results and then create an action plan.

The World Sleep Study

Take this short test to learn your sleep score and then answer additional questions to create a sleep profile.


If you know of a free online assessment for mental health that’s not listed in this post, please share in a comment! Contact me if a link is not working.