Treatment for Mental Illness

mental illness treatmentMental illness is a difficult thing to cope with, but receiving treatment is a highly recommended option. Treating a mental illness is not like treating a physical illness. Mental health levels cannot be measured in quantities like blood tests and cholesterol can be. Mental health issues are a matter of cognition; an invisible thing that informs our personal identities. When a person’s thought and behavioral patterns are unhealthy, they have a mental illness. Fortunately, for them, there are mental health experts available for hire who can guide them through the mental illness they are afflicted with and teach them to overcome it.

Mental health professionals who treat mental illness are typically psychologists or psychiatrists. Their services may be enlisted privately or they may serve hospitals or inpatient treatment centers where people with mental illnesses encounter them. Their job is to engage their client, ask them questions about themselves, listen carefully to their responses, assess their mental illness and create a mental health profile for them. Once their mental illness is properly diagnosed, treatment can begin for them.

Treatment for a mental illness involves intensive cognitive behavioral therapy that slowly but steadily alters the way a person thinks. Because the root of all action and decision making begins with thought patterns, mental health professionals delve deep into a person’s life, past experiences, tendencies and environmental factors to understand how they operate. They determine if medication is needed for the individual and acquire the person a prescription if it is required. They assign the person readings and exercises in order to become familiar with and practice their new coping abilities.

Everything that a mental health professional works with their client on will be put to the test when the mental health professional is not around. However, a person’s psychologist or psychiatrist tends to become a permanent fixture in their life, or at least for an extended period of time. They remain accessible to the person in times of need or crisis. Treating a mental illness is an extended process that lasts for at least a matter of months, if not years. It is important that people choose their mental health professional wisely because they will establish a close relationship with them.

Different Types of Mental Illness

mental illness typesMental illness is an umbrella term for a range of mental and personality disorders. It refers more to a general classification than any single condition. The list of mental illnesses is extensive, and each is unique from the others. Some of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses are as follows:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This mental illness is characterized by chronic disorganized overactivity, racing thoughts, impulsive decision making and, in many cases, an inability to control emotions. People with ADHD often suffer from depression and anger issues as well due to their inability to function like other people.
  • Bipolar Disorder. When a person swings back and forth from dramatic highs to dramatic lows, they are afflicted with bipolar disorder. Periods of mania, when a person is overactive, energetic and unrealistically optimistic, can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, then cycle into periods of depression, when the person is lethargic, uninspired, unproductive and foggy.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety is characterized by immobilizing fear that can come on as a cautionary feeling or a severe attack. People with anxiety can be triggered by a variety of stimuli that they interpret as dangerous and threatening, even when the risk is entirely imagined.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Someone with OCD will fixate on things that are imperfect and obsess over them in an attempt to make them perfect. Typically, a person with OCD will fixate on biological factors, such as health, cleanliness and hygiene, but they can also become obsessed with how things are organized or executed. OCD can feel like a prison to a person who has it because they cannot control their impulse to perfect things.
  • Depression. One of the world’s most common mental illnesses, depression affects nearly a third of North America’s population. It has different levels, all of which are characterized by a slowing down of functionality due to feelings of melancholy. Depression can range from mild and manageable to severe and suicidal.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This mental illness occurs when a person has been through a traumatic event or extended situation, such as a wild animal attack or serving in a war. When events are more traumatic than the mind can handle, the mind becomes stuck on the events and re-experiences them continuously.

Overcoming the Patterns of Mental Illness

overcome mental illnessBreaking the cycle of mental illness is not something that can be done over night. Mental illness is just as real as physical illness, and the path toward recovery is an uphill one. But a person with a mental illness has every reason to hope for recovery. Though no one can completely separate themselves from their mental illness, they can learn to manage its hardships. This is a journey that requires diligence and strength, but it can be accomplished.

When you make the decision to take control of your mental illness, the first step you should take is reaching out for help, if yo have not done this already. Every type of mental illness can have overwhelming, vengeful symptoms that can get on top of the person who carries the illness. If this is the first step you are taking to bring your mental illness under control, do not attempt to do it alone. Seek the assistance of a mental health professional who can provide counseling and medication, if required.

After you have worked with a mental health professional, you will have a far better understanding of how your mental illness works and will be equipped to navigate it more intelligently. You will need these skills when you begin to experience episodes again. Learning about how to manage your mental illness is very different from putting that knowledge into play, and it may take a few tries before you see success. Do not give up! Trust the science behind psychology to lead you toward good mental health.

You will have repeated opportunities to apply your new coping mechanisms to your own outbursts and episodes. Use the calming the exercises you were taught. Look at the situation objectively as someone who is aware of their mental health situation and aware of their brain chemistry operations. Understand the science behind why you are feeling emotional or out of control. Use the coping devices you learned through counseling or self help. If you keep at this diligently, you will notice a difference in the strength and regularity of your episodes. You will begin to feel more balanced and in control, and you will become a much more self sufficient person.

Identifying the Patterns of Mental Illness

mentall illness patternsDo you or someone you know exhibit the signs and patterns of a mental illness? Have reoccurring episodes of emotional instability? Have out of control emotional reactions toward certain stimuli or triggers? People can live many years with a mental illness and not know that they have it. Mental illnesses are invisible. You cannot tell by looking at someone, giving them a physical exam or giving them a blood test that they have a mental illness. Signs of mental illness are in a person’s behaviors, and these must be interpreted in order to identify a mental illness. A few of the most common identifiable patterns of mental illness are as follows:

  • Reoccurring episodes of instability. If instability is something reoccurring within a person, meaning it will go away and come back over certain intervals of time, this is a very likely sign of mental illness. For mentally ill people, instability is a way of life rather than a sporadic event. It may be related things that trigger episodes of instability, but it does not have to be.
  • Inappropriate emotional reactions. A trademark of mental illness is emotional reactions that are too extreme for the situation at hand. Mentally ill people fly off the handle in reaction to a number of things that do not warrant as extreme a reaction. If you see this pattern in yourself or a loved one, consider the possibility of mental illness.
  • Wildly fluctuating moods. When a person’s moods jump all over the map, or jump from one extreme to another without warning, this could be a sign of mental illness. An inability to regulate one’s moods is very common among people with a mental illness.
  • Bad decision making. Mental unhealthiness essentially means that a person’s mind does not work right. This almost always goes together with bad decision making, typically the kind that is either reckless and too extreme or disparaging and not extreme enough. Consistent bad decision making can be a sign of mental unhealthiness.
  • Unhealthy behavioral patterns. When a person’s behavior reads as mentally unhealthy in any way, such as consistently incorrect estimations of people or situations, they are a likely candidate for a mental disorder.

Mental Illness; Not an Isolated Incident

reoccurring mental illnessSome people are under the mistaken impression that mental illness takes the form of an isolated incident, and once it is detected, it can be switched off. If only this were the case, many people would have suffered much less. Alas, mental illness is a lifelong, permanent condition that can be managed but never completely eradicated. Depending on the type of mental illness, the person who has it may have to be on medication for life and work against the mental illness daily, or it may be much less severe and they are able to reason their way out of their mental illness symptoms when they arise. Regardless, the symptoms will be reoccurring throughout the person’s entire lifetime. Often, mental illness becomes less severe as the person ages because their body chemistry becomes more level over time. But the mental illness will always be present in some form, and the level of success a person has in managing it will be up to them.

Mental illnesses tend to affect people in a cyclical manner, meaning their symptoms rise and fall over time, and their symptoms are affected by life circumstances and the person’s physical health. Sometimes, the person will be experiencing no symptoms at all. People with mental illnesses can go through periods of feeling totally level and balanced. Sadly, this is not permanent, as chemical brain patterns, thoughts and behaviors of the mental illness will return eventually. This does not mean that the person needs to break into episodes again and again. Many people successfully learn to identify the onset of their episodes and use coping mechanisms to manage them or reverse them. It is impossible to feel no affects at all of a mental illness, but with practice and dedication, a person can become fairly proficient at managing their mental illness.

If a person makes the choice not to manage their symptoms, however, their life and the lives of those they are close to will be considerably more difficult. Their episodes will take them by surprise and they will fall into their mentally unhealthy patterns again and again. Their emotions will be out of control and their ability to cope will be low. As they age, they will likely feel some relief as their body chemistry evens out, but the conscious decision to manage mental illness symptoms can truly go a long way for a person.