What Is The Best Treatment for Mental Illness?
Mental illness is more common than you might imagine. Roughly one in five adults in the United States has some form of mental illness. Based on 2019 data, this amounts to almost 52 million Americans with mental health disorders of varying degrees of severity. Therefore, it’s imperative people find mental health services to properly treat this condition and get back to living a healthy, happy life. We’ll go over the warning signs of mental health illnesses and ways to combat the condition with daily wellness practices and professional help. Your well-being is the most important thing you have in this life and it’s important to be vigilant about your mental health. While mental health disorders may climb in current times of 2021, with the pandemic being prevalent and other strife going around in the world, services are available to help you handle it all.
What Is Mental Illness?
Mental health conditions are health conditions that involve changes to any or all of the following:
If you have a mental health condition, it will typically disrupt the way you function at home, work, or school. It’s important to get peer support from a group therapy session or others also going through mental illness treatment during this time. You don’t have to go through it alone. Therapy helps ease the pain from emotional distress and shows you explorative ways to make sure that you can ground yourself to reality amongst the emotional chaos.
Mental illness is an umbrella term used to describe all diagnosable mental health disorders, those that involve both distress and significant changes as outlined above.
The most common examples of serious mental illnesses are:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Borderline Personality disorder
While perhaps less serious, anxiety disorder is the mental health condition troubling most Americans.
Mental health is the term used to describe proper and healthy functioning in your personal and professional relationships, as well as your ability to cope with change and adversity.
Today, we’ll give you a brief overview of what to expect if you’re diagnosed with a mental health condition. You should also see by the end of today why it’s worth seeking treatment for any mental health conditions, particularly if you’re also suffering from addiction to drink or drugs. Even if this is the case, you can still get treatment with dual diagnosis programs designed to address both issues simultaneously.
What Is The Best Mental Health Treatment?
Mental health professionals are in agreement that the best method of treating most mental illnesses is a combination of medication and complementary psychotherapies.
- Medication for mental illness
- Psychotherapies for mental illness
Medication for mental illness
Medication can be successfully used to treat a variety of mental health disorders and conditions.
While effective, medication is often administered alongside psychotherapies like CBT, although this is not always the case.
We’ll be revisiting the expansive topic of mental health over the coming months in recognition of the problems the pandemic has created across the United States. Today, we’re only skimming the surface with a glimpse at how medication can be used to treat depression and anxiety, the most common mental health condition in the US.
Medication should only be taken under the close supervision of a medical professional, and you should always take the medication only and exactly as prescribed.
Bear the following pointers in mind if you’re looking to engage with medication to treat a mental health disorder:
- Always tell your doctor about any other medications you’re taking
- Alert your doctor to any vitamin supplements you are taking
- Make sure you fully understand how to take the medication. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure
- Never take medications prescribed for someone else
- Don’t give your medications to anyone else
- Call your doctor immediately if you run into any problems taking medication for a mental health condition
- Inform your doctor if you have any allergies or sensitivities to medications
A glimpse now at the following types of medication that can be used to treat depression and anxiety respectively:
Antidepressants are medications used to treat the symptoms of depression. Less frequently, antidepressants are used to treat insomnia, pain, and anxiety. Although not FDA-approved for the purpose, antidepressants are occasionally used to effectively treat ADHD in adults.
SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most popular types of antidepressants. Examples include:
SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are another type of antidepressant, including:
Research shows that most antidepressants work about as well as each other for treating and improving the symptoms associated with depression, as well as for preventing those symptoms from coming back.
While this is understood, some people seem to respond better to certain antidepressants than others. As such, you may need to experiment with more than one form of this medication to achieve optimum results.
Beyond this, some medications appear initially effective before becoming less and less effective over time. Again, be prepared to work with your doctor and to switch up to an alternative.
When prescribed antidepressants, it’s crucial to take the medicine at the time directed, and in the correct dose for you.
Once you are taking a course of antidepressants, it’s essential not to stop taking them without consulting your doctor. Many people start feeling better, stop taking the tablets prematurely, and then notice the symptoms of depression returning.
When it is time to put the pills away, your doctor will help you to taper off the medication. This allows your body to gradually accustom itself to the change. Stopped abruptly and prematurely may trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines, also known as benzos, are the medication most frequently used to treat anxiety disorders. As the global pandemic has brought about many negative outcomes, more and more people in the United States have been seeking prescriptions for benzos. Benzos are also used as second-line treatments – SSRIs and other antidepressants are used first – for panic disorders and social phobias.
Common benzodiazepines include:
Lorazepam is a short-acting benzodiazepine that’s typically used for treating the short-term symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. Beta-blockers are another type of medication that can be beneficial for alleviating the physical symptoms triggered by anxiety (trembling, sweating, or accelerated heartbeat). Used short-term, benzos can be highly effective for treating anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, tolerance to benzos rapidly builds. The more you take this medication, the more you’ll need to achieve the same effects. At the same time, dependence can easily build. It’s for these reasons that benzos are almost exclusively prescribed short-term. Older adults and anyone with substance abuse issues are at heightened risk of becoming addicted to benzodiazepines. If you stop taking benzos abruptly, you’re likely to experience adverse withdrawal symptoms. You should taper off the medication slowly to mitigate this.
In addition to antidepressants and anti-anxiety tablets like benzos, the following medications can also be used:
- Stimulants: For treating ADHD
- Anti-psychotics: For treating psychosis
- Mood stabilizers: For treating bipolar
As we’ve mentioned, this is intended as a cursory overview of the way in which some medications are routinely used to effectively treat mental illness.
Next, we’ll highlight how psychotherapies also play a vital role in mental health treatment for many people.
Psychotherapies for mental illness
Psychotherapy is also commonly called talking therapy. The term is used to describe a range of treatment techniques with the following overarching goals:
To help you identify problematic thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
To change those thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
Psychotherapy is normally delivered by a licensed mental healthcare professional. It can take place one-to-one, or in a group setting.
This form of therapy can be beneficial if you have been experiencing long-term stress, whether caused by problems at work or home.
Also, psychotherapy is a core component of addiction treatment, as it imparts the skills needed for you to negotiate cravings for drink or drugs without relapsing.
Two of the most common forms of psychotherapy are:
- CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy)
- DBT (dialectical behavior therapy)
DBT is actually a tweaked form of CBT but has enough differences to be considered unique.
With CBT, your focus is on learning how your thoughts shape your feelings and your behaviors. This is a goal-focused and time-limited therapy.
DBT, by contrast, seeks to build further upon the foundational principles of CBT. Psychologist Marsha Linehan found CBT effective but limited, so she created DBT to plug the perceived deficiencies. With DBT, there’s more emphasis placed on the way you interact with others in a variety of relationships and environments. While initially developed to treat the symptoms of BPD (borderline personality disorder), DBT is now used to treat a wider range of conditions.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction at Renaissance Recovery
If you feel you have an undiagnosed mental health condition and you’re also struggling with addiction to drink or drugs, we can help you on both counts. One of our many areas of a specialty here at Renaissance is dual diagnosis addiction treatment. We’ll ensure you get the right personalized care so you can address the symptoms of your mental health disorder while at the same time detoxing from drinks or drugs. From here, you can build a strong and solid foundation for sustained recovery.
There’s no need to feel alone, and there’s no need to feel like the world is ending. However serious your problems, we can help you fix them and reclaim the life you crave more than drink or drugs. Get things started right now by calling us at 866.330.9449.