Advances in the treatment of mental health disorders have brought about more effective treatments. Even disorders such as schizophrenia, for which there is no permanent cure, can be effectively managed using a combination of medication and therapy which enable a person to live a more balanced and healthy life.
There are many types and categories of mental health disorders. Treatment should begin as soon as a diagnosis is made. Some of the more prevalent disorders are:
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Panic disorder
- Anxiety disorder
Following diagnosis, a person may be referred to a psychologist, psychiatrist or other mental health practitioner. Treatment may take place at a residential facility or be on an outpatient basis depending on the nature and severity of the condition. Some patients require medication only and some therapy only, but most do best when there is a combination of both treatments.
There are many effective and commonly used medications for the treatment of mental health disorders. A person may have to try more than one type of medication under medical supervision before finding the one that works most effectively. It is always important to take the medication as directed, for the recommended length of time and frequency of the dosage. Commonly used drugs for the treatment of mental health disorders include SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are used to treat depression and other disorders. This class of drugs inhibits the reuptake of serotonin in the central nervous system. Risperidone, quetiapine and aripiprazole are other drugs useful in the treatment of mental health issues.
Therapy may be one-on-one or may be in a group setting with other individuals with a therapist present. Therapists should be non-judgmental and work to provide a setting where a patient can feel at ease and comfortable describing their problems. Therapy should be used to lessen symptoms and any underlying issues which may be worsening a mental health disorder. There are many different forms of therapy. For example, one effective form of therapy for treating mental health disorders is Cognitive Behavioral therapy. In this form of therapy, patients are taught a method of changing the outcome of formerly negative thoughts to improve their life.
The changes brought about in therapy can be the start of a healthier life.
It is not uncommon for a person suffering from a mental health disorder to also have an undiagnosed underlying condition. For example, a person abusing alcohol or drugs may suffer from depression as a result or a person suffering from depression may turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. Many people suffering from mental health disorders have substance abuse problems and people who abuse drugs and alcohol often suffer from mental illness. If both conditions are not treated concurrently, there is a higher chance of relapse. Treatment tends to be more intricate for patients with co-occurring conditions to reduce the possibility of relapse.
Drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness
The combination of a mental health disorder and substance abuse problem is a toxic mixture. This is due to a number of reasons, including:
- Substance abuse can cause mental illness in a previously healthy person
- Drugs and alcohol can aggravate mental illness and cause suicidal thoughts or attempts
- The temporary ‘high’ from drugs does not help an underlying condition but instead will make it worse
- People who are suffering from mental illness and abusing substances are unlikely to follow a medication or appointment schedule and may be prone to violence
Treatment for dual diagnosis patients
For those seeking help in stopping substance abuse, detox is the first step. This is best carried out under medical supervision at a mental health facility or treatment center to avoid complications and provide support. Sometimes medication is prescribed to assist in a detox. Once the detox is accomplished, treatment can begin.
An important component of mental illness treatment is cognitive testing to ensure brain wellness. Testing measures the functionality of the brain on different levels and is a painless procedure which can be used to help promote positive changes in the brain over time.
From there on out the focus is on treating the mental health issue and any underlying conditions attached to it. Treatment will lead to an improved response to external stressors and an improved lifestyle free of the struggles caused by the symptoms of a mental health disorder.
If you or your loved one is looking for treatment make sure the treatment center offers all these services. Most treatment centers accept major health insurance plans, making treatment affordable. If you would like further information regarding mental health treatment plans, please call the Mental Health Helpline at