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Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

It’s normal for people to go through tough times. But if you have a mental health disorder, then you may need proper treatment for it.

Navigation: Seeking Psychiatric Help: How to Know If You Need Treatment for Mental Health Disorders, Common Mental Health Disorders, Benefits of Seeking Psychiatric Help for a Mental Illness, What Does a Mental Health Professional Do?, What to Expect from Mental Health Treatment, Rehab Is Your Best Chance


It’s common to feel sad, anxious, or unsure about yourself especially when facing stressful situations. But sometimes, these reactions can actually signal a much bigger problem. If your symptoms persist for a significant period of time, then you may have a mental health disorder.

It can be hard to tell sometimes whether you are experiencing a normal emotion or actually have a mental illness. It’s normal for people to go through tough times. But if you have a mental health disorder, then you may need proper treatment for it.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), mental illness refers to a wide range of conditions that affect a person’s thinking, mood, behavior, and overall emotional well-being. Serious mental illnesses can significantly impact a person’s ability to function and handle daily life activities, such as work, school, relationships, and self-care.

Common examples of mental illnesses include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders. However, there are numerous other mental health conditions that fall under the umbrella of mental illness.

Mental illnesses are thought to arise from a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. They are not simply a result of personal weakness or character flaws but are legitimate medical conditions that require appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and support.

Just like other illnesses, they may vary in terms of severity, duration, and specific symptoms. The good news is that they can be managed and treated through various interventions, including therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, social support, and mental health support.

Here we will be talking all about common mental illnesses and when to seek treatment for them.


Seeking Psychiatric Help: How to Know If You Need Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

Understanding your own mental health is important. In order to know when to seek psychiatric help for a possible mental health disorder, you need to recognize the different warning signs. Keep in mind that you cannot diagnose yourself and that you still need to seek professional care for a proper diagnosis.

While recognizing these signs and symptoms can be challenging, there are indicators that can help you assess your situation.

Here are some common indicators that suggest you may need treatment for mental health disorders:

First, you may experience persistent and overwhelming symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your daily life, it may be an indication that you need professional help. Take note of severe symptoms such as intense sadness, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, excessive worry, and hallucinations.

Not only will these symptoms be persistent, they will also increase in intensity and frequency. This may indicate that your condition is worsening.

Persistent changes in sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping, or significant changes in appetite, such as loss of appetite or overeating, can be indicators of a mental health issue that requires attention.

If your mental health symptoms are causing difficulties in multiple areas of your life, such as work or school performance, relationships, or your day to day activities, seeking treatment is essential. Your family members may notice significant behavioral changes. For example, you may engage in risky behavior such as substance abuse, self-harm, or suicidal ideation. These are clear signs that immediate professional help is needed.

Because of these symptoms and behavioral changes, your mental health condition will get in the way of your relationships. It can put a strain on your relationships with friends, family members, and colleagues. You may even find yourself withdrawing from activities you once enjoyed, avoiding social interactions, and struggling to find pleasure in life.

People with mental illnesses tend to have difficulty coping with life’s daily stressors. If you are experiencing intense emotional distress, feelings of hopelessness, or a persistent sense of emptiness, it’s important to reach out for support. Seeking professional guidance can be beneficial, especially if you feel like your situation is overwhelming or insurmountable.

Finally, if you have tried self-help strategies and implemented lifestyle changes but continue to experience distressing symptoms, seeking professional treatment can help you access more targeted and effective interventions.

Remember, everyone’s experiences with mental health disorders can vary, and this list is not exhaustive. You need to consult with a mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnosis. They can provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment options tailored to your specific needs.


Common Mental Health Disorders

Familiarizing yourself with some of the most common mental health disorders can help give you an idea of what you may be experiencing. Again, the goal is not to self-diagnose, but to know that there is an explanation for what you are currently experiencing and that a mental health professional can shed more light over the issue.

Common mental health disorders include:

Depression: A mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. It can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, and physical well-being.

Anxiety disorders: These include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and specific phobias. Anxiety disorders involve excessive and persistent worrying, fear, or anxiety that can interfere with daily life.

Bipolar disorder: A condition characterized by extreme mood swings, including episodes of mania (elevated mood, increased energy) and depression. It can significantly impact a person’s mood, energy levels, and ability to function.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and intrusive thoughts related to the trauma.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): An anxiety disorder characterized by recurring, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that individuals feel driven to perform to alleviate anxiety.

Eating disorders: These include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. They involve abnormal eating behaviors and attitudes towards food, weight, and body shape, which can have severe physical and psychological consequences.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A neurodevelopmental disorder that typically begins in childhood and persists into adulthood. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can impact a person’s functioning and relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): A condition characterized by intense mood swings, unstable self-image, and difficulty maintaining stable relationships. It often involves impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.

Schizophrenia: A chronic and severe mental disorder that affects a person’s perception of reality, thinking, emotions, and behavior. Symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, and social withdrawal.

Substance use disorders: Yes, substance use disorders are also classified as mental health disorders. These involve the misuse or dependence on substances such as alcohol, drugs, or medications, leading to significant impairment in daily functioning and negative consequences for physical and mental health.

In some cases, mental health conditions may co-occur with one another. For example, substance use disorders often co-occur with certain mental illnesses like depression and anxiety due to the connection between addiction and mental health.

Benefits of Seeking Psychiatric Help for a Mental Illness

We keep saying that you need to seek psychiatric help if you have a mental illness but we haven’t discussed all the benefits of doing so. There are many reasons why proper treatment for a mental illness is crucial.

For starters, mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, have the expertise to accurately diagnose various mental disorders. Accurate diagnosis is the first step towards effective treatment. Without professional help, people may struggle to understand the nature of their condition, leading to uncertainty and potentially incorrect self-diagnosis.

Psychiatric help ensures that patients receive personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. They consider various factors, including symptoms, medical history, and individual circumstances to develop an appropriate treatment approach.

They can even prescribe medication if necessary, recommend therapy, or suggest other interventions based on their assessment.

Speaking of medications, health care providers can give you appropriate prescriptions and monitor their effectiveness. They know all about the potential side effects, so they can make the necessary adjustments to the dosage if necessary. Regular check-ins with a psychiatrist ensure that the medication is optimally supporting the individual’s mental health and well-being.

And since therapy is a valuable tool for addressing underlying causes and developing healthy coping strategies, psychiatrists can even refer their clients to highly qualified psychotherapists or psychologists for therapy sessions.

Psychiatrists have extensive knowledge and experience in treating mental health conditions. They can offer valuable guidance and support throughout the treatment process. They can educate their clients about their condition, explain the potential causes and risk factors, and help manage symptoms effectively. Working with an expert can even alleviate feelings of confusion, distress, and isolation.

These mental health experts consider the holistic well-being of individuals, taking into account their physical, emotional, and social aspects. They recognize the interconnectedness of these factors and work towards a comprehensive treatment plan. This approach can promote long-term recovery and overall improvement in quality of life.

By seeking psychiatric help, you can even contribute to the fight against stigma. Even now, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness, addiction, and treatment. By seeking professional assistance, people can challenge the notion that mental health issues should be hidden or ignored.

You can set an example of prioritizing mental well-being and encourage others to do the same, fostering a more supportive and understanding society.

In times of crisis or emergencies, seeking psychiatric help is crucial. They can offer immediate support and intervention to individuals experiencing severe mental health symptoms or contemplating self-harm or suicide. They can assess the situation, offer crisis management techniques, and help ensure that person’s safety.

Remember that seeking psychiatric help is a sign of strength and self-care. Mental health professionals are there to provide support, guidance, and evidence-based treatment options to individuals facing mental health challenges.

What Does a Mental Health Professional Do?

The title “mental health professional” is a broad term that refers to professionals who are trained and qualified to provide mental health services and support. Their primary role is to help their clients manage and improve their mental and emotional well-being.

Common types of mental health professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Mental health professionals conduct interviews, assessments, and psychological tests to evaluate a person’s mental health condition. They use diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to make accurate diagnoses.

Based on the assessment, mental health professionals develop personalized treatment plans tailored to that individual’s specific needs. They then collaborate with their client to set realistic goals and determine appropriate interventions.

After the assessment, they can begin to provide therapy and counseling services. There are individual therapy sessions, family therapy, group therapy, couples counseling, etc. Mental health professionals will utilize evidence-based approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address various mental health concerns.

Some mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners, are authorized to prescribe medications. They assess the need for medication, prescribe and monitor psychotropic medications, and collaborate with other professionals to ensure integrated care.

It is also their job to educate clients and their families about mental health conditions, including their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options. During therapy, they will offer guidance on healthy coping strategies, stress management techniques, and lifestyle changes that can enhance the person’s mental health.

Another thing mental health professionals do is crisis management. Crisis situations such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and acute mental health episodes need to be addressed carefully. They can provide immediate support and intervention to ensure the safety of their clients.

Mental health professionals work collaboratively with other healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians, psychologists, social workers, and occupational therapists. They may refer clients to specialized services or professionals when necessary to ensure comprehensive care.

Keep in mind that the specific roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals may vary based on their qualifications and expertise. It may even be affected by the regulations of their respective jurisdictions.

What to Expect from Mental Health Treatment

Different treatment programs may take different approaches. Usually it’s similar to addiction treatment wherein the exact approach is influenced by a variety of factors such as the person’s condition, environment, severity of symptoms, co-occurring disorders, etc. This is why a personalized treatment plan is created.

With that in mind, there are several common approaches and components that can be expected in mental health treatment such as assessment and diagnosis, psychotherapy, medication management, residential treatment, and support groups.

We’ve talked about how a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis is the first step in mental health treatment. This determines the nature and severity of the disorder.

Next comes psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. It involves working with a mental health professional to address the underlying causes and symptoms of the disorder.

Different types of therapy may be used, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, or family therapy. The therapist helps individuals develop coping strategies, improve communication, manage symptoms, and make positive changes in their lives.

Some patients may explore complementary and alternative therapies to supplement their treatment, such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, or acupuncture. These approaches can be used alongside traditional treatments, but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating them.

If necessary, medications may be prescribed. This depends on the type and severity of the condition. Psychiatrists and other medical professionals specializing in mental health can prescribe medications to help manage symptoms. Common medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics.

In severe cases or during a mental health crisis, hospitalization or residential treatment may be necessary. This is typically reserved for situations where the person’s safety is at risk, and they require intensive care and monitoring.

During treatment, the client will be encouraged to incorporate various lifestyle changes that can support their mental health. This may include improving sleep habits, incorporating regular exercise, practicing stress management techniques, and adopting a healthy diet.

Another important element of mental health treatment is support groups. Support groups can provide a sense of community and understanding for individuals with mental health disorders. They offer a safe space to share experiences, gain insights, and receive support from others facing similar challenges.

Mental health treatment is often a long-term process. It’s important to continue therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes even after symptoms improve to prevent relapse and improve the person’s quality of life.

Everyone’s journey with mental health is unique, and the specific treatment approach will depend on individual circumstances. Look for a treatment center near you today or consult a mental health professional to get your diagnosis.

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.



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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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