For decades, healthcare professionals and scientists would only associate physical fitness with an individual’s overall well-being. They did not fully comprehend the impact of mental health and how it plays a significant role in transforming someone’s day-to-day lifestyle. But now, thanks to recent advancements and emerging knowledge, mental health is finally starting to receive its long-overdue recognition.
Mental health is an umbrella term that encompasses various aspects of a person’s life, such as emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It affects how you think, act, or feel and provides you with the ability to cope and withstand certain situations and environments. Maintaining its balance is just as vital as your physical health, if not more.
But just like physical well-being, your mental fitness is also prone to illnesses and disorders. And these psychiatric conditions aren’t as rare as you would think. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, nearly one in every five American citizens lives with some form of mental illness. The most common are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Fortunately, modern medicine and research have opened the doors to treating these conditions and allowing patients to recover or better manage their illnesses. However, depending on factors like genetics, lifestyle, and treatment duration, some therapies might work better for a particular group than others.
Here are the six most effective treatment options for mental health problems used today.
1. Residential treatment programs
Treatment centers like the Delphi Health Group allow you to enroll yourself or a loved one with mental illness into a residential treatment program. These rehabilitation facilities treat clients for various mental disorders and provide them with medium to high-intensity care, depending on the severity of their disease. Mental health professionals are available around the clock and offer 24-hour support to clients by helping them navigate their emotions and feelings.
This treatment option is best for those individuals who can no longer care for themselves and must seek professional help. In some cases, ignoring your mental health can lead to more damaging effects and harm yourself or your loved ones. Therefore, before your condition worsens, search for an accredited facility near you, and get the support you need.
Pills or psychiatric medication is perhaps the oldest treatment option for mental health disorders. While they don’t precisely cure an illness, they can significantly help manage symptoms and reduce their severity.
Most professionals today prescribe medications in combination with other forms of therapy to achieve the most effective results. However, many of these drugs aren’t always suitable for all kinds of patients. A psychiatrist will first evaluate and monitor your illness and how it manifests before starting you on trial drug therapy. Once your initial regimen is a success, they might adjust your dose or even stop it entirely if you experience too many side effects.
Although there are several classes of psychiatric pills, they broadly fall into either one of these categories: antidepressants, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, or mood-stabilizing drugs. But no matter how severe your condition gets, it’s crucial not to self-medicate and only take the medication as prescribed by your doctor.
3. Support groups
Another type of treatment option that is rapidly growing in popularity is support groups. These are gatherings of a particular group of people, all facing similar issues or problems they’re dealing with. One of the most devastating consequences of a mental illness is how incredibly lonely it can make you feel. Family members or loved ones might sympathize, but they don’t really understand how you feel and, therefore, don’t know how to help you. Health professionals and doctors, while having your best interest at heart, may also sometimes feel too clinical. However, when you’re around individuals experiencing the same emotions as you, you’re more likely to be receptive to the help or care they provide.
Sometimes the only medicine you need is for someone to make you feel heard and seen, and that’s what support groups are for. Listening to others’ stories can also provide insightful solutions to overcoming specific challenges and making you feel less lonely.
Psychotherapy is a generic term that typically describes treating someone with a mental illness by talking to them or counseling them. Only certified mental health professionals, such as psychologists and psychiatrists, have the authority and expertise to hold such sessions. They actively listen to you to find the root cause of your disease and try to assess your feelings associated with it. By helping you process your emotions and behaviors, these professionals teach you the skills that allow you to regain control of your life.
Certain triggers may lead you to indulge in harmful or dangerous habits that can quickly spiral your mental health downwards. But when your counselor provides you with healthier alternatives, you can better respond to these challenging situations.
5. Brain stimulation therapies
Many psychiatrists and mental health professionals recommend brain stimulation therapies to treat only certain illnesses, but not all. This therapy involves activating or inhibiting particular nerve impulses that send messages to the brain using electricity. Previously, an electric current was given by implanting electrodes into the patient’s head. But now, this process can also be done non-invasively through electrodes placed outside on a patient’s scalp.
This therapy is less frequently used and is often only employed as the last resort when all other treatment options fail. It includes several types of stimulation therapies:
- Electroconvulsive therapy
- Magnetic seizure therapy
- Deep brain stimulation
- Vagus nerve stimulation
- Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
6. Complementary therapies
Alternative or complementary therapies are generally used alongside other treatments to improve patient outcomes. While they don’t cure the illness, they can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life, making them more responsive to other therapeutics.
One example of complementary therapy is yoga or exercise. When you engage in regular physical activity, you stimulate the production of endorphins—a hormone that relieves pain, reduces stress, and enhances your mental well-being. Therefore, doctors often recommend it to patients suffering from depression or anxiety.
Eating certain foods and avoiding others is also a type of complementary therapy. Your emotions and behaviors can drastically change when you take better care of what you eat. For instance, studies show that omega-3 fatty acids are excellent supplements to improve the efficiency of antidepressants. Therefore, you can eat seafood, nuts, and plant oils as an adjunct to your current treatments.
Although mental health is slowly becoming more recognizable, it still has a certain stigma. Due to this, people often hesitate to seek help even when they so desperately need it. But if you ignore your mental illness for too long, it can quickly manifest into more severe forms and damage your physical well-being. To keep this from happening, you must consult with a professional, consider your treatment options, and begin your road to recovery as soon as possible.
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