Athletes and Mental Illness
Being a professional athlete or in another high-profile athletic position like college will put people under incredible stress. Not only because they live more public lives than the average person but also because college athletes need to balance classwork and grades alongside practices, workouts, and games. However, for most athletes, mental health is not always considered alongside their performance in the same way sports injuries are due to the stigma around mental illness and the lack of educational resources available on the importance of mental health care and wellness.
Athletes at all levels can suffer from mental illness and its negative impact on health and overall wellness. Being in good physical health does not always mean a person is happy and doing well in all aspects of life. Athletes suffering from mental health problems happen as much as other people. Still, they may have to deal with more stigma around mental health issues, causing them to avoid seeking professional help from a mental health professional.
Let your coach, athletic trainer, or doctor know if you are an elite athlete, play at a beginner level, and have mental health concerns. Peak performance includes good physical and mental health, and undiagnosed mental illness can lead to severe issues down the road. Keep reading to learn more about the athletes who have struggled with mental health.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the final team Olympic competition in 2021 due to the strain and mental health issues she was dealing with. This decision firmly rejects the idea that it is necessary to be stoic when depression, anxiety, and other problems occur in life. She stated it is crucial to “protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
During his time as an NFL football player, Williams was severely unhappy, feeling isolated and unable to explain what was happening to his loved ones. Once he was diagnosed with social anxiety and put on an antidepressant along with therapy, Williams felt relief.
This tennis champion suffered from serious post-partum depression and spoke out about its devastating effects on the athlete’s performance.
This National Soccer Hall of Fame player and Olympic gold medalist had spoken publicly about her struggles with alcohol abuse, addiction, and mental health challenges that began when she was prescribed pain pills for medical reasons.
One of the top tennis players in the world, Osaka was recently fined $15,000 for skipping a press conference. She announced later that she suffered from severe anxiety and depressive symptoms and did not feel comfortable speaking in public, taking time away from the court.
This record-breaking Olympic swimmer revealed that he has had substance abuse issues and suicidal thoughts, entering a rehabilitation center in 2014 after receiving a second DUI charge. Phelps has also recently spoken about the negative effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on his mental health.
Olympic swimmer and elite athlete Amanda Beard revealed her mental health challenges surrounding depression, poor body image, self-harm, and disordered eating in her autobiography “In the Water, They Can’t See You Cry.”
Like these athletes, many people who struggle with mental illness will try and self-medicate for their symptoms by using drugs and alcohol, inhibiting healthy coping mechanisms and behaviors and leading to dependence and addiction.
Along with athletes, musicians turn to drugs to cope and many have lost their lives to addiction:
Alcohol and Drug Rehab at WhiteSands
It is time to break the stigma and provide mental health awareness training and mental health resources to every athletic department, school, exercise training camp, and sports team. Understanding and supporting those with mental health and substance use disorders is essential. This aid includes providing Tampa drug rehab, alcohol detox and dual diagnosis care needed to help those struggling to take care of themselves to regain control over their lives and return to play with joy and good health.
At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we will help you through integrated treatments that include a dual diagnosis for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, including sleep disorders, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental disorders health conditions. These are designed to improve mental wellness through targeted therapy and psychiatric medications when needed.
As a professional or student-athlete, there is no need to suffer in silence if you are feeling symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. Call us today, and we can help you feel better, breaking through the stigma of mental health issues and improving your overall performance and life away from sports.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.