Seven Ways to Treat Mental Illness
Around one in five adults in the US are living with a mental illness. The mental health definition is a condition that causes serious disorders in your thoughts or actions.
If you are part of the 20%, there are things you can do. There are plenty of treatments available that can help your specific disorders.
Before choosing a treatment for your mental illness, seek a mental illness test from a medical professional. They will be able to work with you to diagnose your disorders and find the best course of action.
If you want to educate yourself on the options first, these are some of the most common and best ways to treat a variety of mental illnesses.
This is one of the most common types of treatment for mental illness and anyone undergoing a period of emotional hardship. It is a type of “talking therapy” where you talk in confidence to a trained psychologist about your issues. The psychologist will help you learn to live with your issues or help you overcome them.
Counseling can help people with:
- Eating disorders
- Low self-esteem
- Anger issues
- Chronic conditions or pain
- Difficult life events e.g. death
- Identity crises e.g. gender or sexuality
Thanks to today’s technology, counseling is available in person, by messaging, over the phone, or via video call. Group counseling is also available but one-on-one is the most common method. There is no set number of counseling sessions it will take to ease your mental illness because everyone is different.
Is anxiety a mental illness? Is depression a mental illness? The answer to both is yes, and if you are experiencing one or both due to a life event or stress, counseling might be the best treatment for you.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is also a one-on-one talking therapy that can treat a range of mental illnesses. But unlike counseling, it is better suited to those with long-term, habitual mental illnesses.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help with:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Panic disorder
- Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Many people with mental illnesses often suffer from more than one mental illness. For example, it’s natural and normal to have anxiety, depression, and OCD at the same time. CBT sessions will help you change negative patterns and break huge problems down into smaller chunks.
If you cannot get access to CBT due to cost or other barriers, there are free CBT self-help workbooks available.
3. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy is like CBT with a few key differences. It is also a talking therapy but it’s targeted at slightly different mental illnesses and disorders, like:
- Depression that leads to self-harm and suicidal thoughts
- Drug and alcohol addictions
- Eating disorders
- Criminal behavior as a result of mental illness
This type of therapy can treat people with high sensitivity who need help understanding their emotions. Unlike CBT which focuses on changing thought patterns and behaviors, DBT will help you accept realities you cannot change. It will help you learn skills to manage these parts of your personality.
Whereas CBT sessions are often one-on-one with a trained therapist, most DBT sessions are in groups. If this interests you then you can search “DBT groups near me” or in your local area. It’s important to remember that even if many of the mental issues listed under DBT apply to you, group therapy isn’t for everyone.
4. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
You may have heard about “couples counseling” or “family counseling” and this is what IPT is. Interpersonal Therapy helps those with mental illnesses address problems in their relationships. It can treat issues like anxiety and depression as a result of poor relationships.
5. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an all too common mental illness. Luckily, EMDR is a specific type of one-on-one therapy for people with PTSD.
This therapy can help PTSD sufferers with:
- Panic attacks
- Intrusive thoughts
- Traumatic memories
EMDR will help you reprocess memories from traumatic events so you can let them go. It can be quite a distressing therapy so you may need another type of therapy as support.
6. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness is a buzzword in the self-care industry right now, but it is part of a crucial type of therapy. MBCT isn’t a talking therapy per se as it uses a range of techniques including meditation and breathing exercises.
This type of therapy can treat anxiety, depression, and addiction. It’s often combined with another type of talking therapy like CBT.
All the other mental illness treatments listed are therapies that are vital in combating any mental illness. Your GP or another medical professional may prescribe medication to you alongside therapy.
Here are some examples of medication you might need to take for a mental illness:
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Mood stabilizers
- ADHD drugs
- Sleeping drugs
Is ADHD a mental illness? Yes, and it’s one of the most common disorders that affect children. These medications might be short term or they could be for life.
For example, your body might not produce enough of a vital hormone such as serotonin. This will affect your mood so you may need to take medication long-term.
Do not feel ashamed of taking a mental health medication for life because it is not due to any failure on your part. Many people have other chronic issues they take medication for and this is no different.
Find the Right Mental Illness Treatment for You
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to treating mental illness because your experiences are unique. It can be discouraging when you make the effort to try a treatment and it doesn’t work, but keep trying. You deserve to get help and now you know there is plenty of help out there.
No matter your current issues, looking after your physical and mental health is a lifelong mission. If you want more advice, browse our website where you’ll find lots of useful medication and nutrition tips.