Mental Health Treatment

Getting Effective Help for Mental Health Disorders

Mental health is something that many individuals don’t pay attention to during their lifetimes. Many people don’t think about their mental health because it “just works.” However, mental health, mental health treatment, and mental well-being have become hot-button topics lately. Thanks to recent occurrences, many people’s coping mechanisms for dealing with their mental well-being were challenged.

Lockdowns forced people to remain inside their homes without any genuinely healthy way of coping with the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that followed. This backdrop allowed many people to develop or highlight mental health issues that might have existed for some time.
Luckily, today’s society is more accepting of mental health problems than a decade ago. There is no longer a stigma associated with having mental health problems. Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist is as common as seeing a dentist or a general practitioner.
Unfortunately, some people still have hang-ups about seeing a mental health professional. They assume that it means they are weak and can’t overcome their own problems without help. This isn’t the right approach to take. Just like a person can’t deal with a broken bone or a sprained wrist on their own, the same applies to mental; health issues.

What Is Mental Health Treatment

While we understand more about the brain and how it works from both a mechanical and a social standpoint, there’s still a lot left to learn about it. Mental health treatment applies things that we’ve learned over the last century or more to help people find their balance in the world. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to mental health treatment. 

Very often, a person will go to multiple practitioners to get an idea of what they’re facing. It’s uncommon (but not impossible) to have the same therapist throughout one’s life. While having a friend listen to one’s problems may help alleviate some issues, it’s always better to consult a professional in the field.

The first step in mental health treatment is determining a diagnosis. For a professional to diagnose a person, they must first go through a physical exam. The doctor will use this exam to rule out any physical problems contributing to the person’s condition. The physical exam is accompanied by a lab visit, which may be used to screen for drugs or deficiencieswithin the body that may account for the patient’s mental state.
Finally, a psychological evaluation takes place, where a professional will interview the patient regarding their feelings, behavior, and thought process. The patient may be asked to fill out a questionnaire at this point to help in the diagnosis. It can be challenging to pin down a particular mental illness a person might have, and as a result, a professional may consult with others to get a clearer picture of what they’re dealing with.

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Types Of Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals come in multiple types, and a patient may likely see one or more of them throughout their treatment. These mental health professionals usually work with patients in inpatient or outpatient facilities to help them deal with their mental illnesses.

Assessment and Therapy Professionals

Therapists help patients understand themselves better. They are crucial in dealing with feelings, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. They can also serve as guidance for their patients to achieve their life goals. They can also aid in diagnosing mental health conditions. Among the assessment and therapy professionals a person may encounter are:
  • Psychologists: Psychologists evaluate a person’s mental health using evaluation, testing, and clinical interviews.
  • Counselors, Therapists, or Clinicians: These professionals help a person with the way they’re feeling and how their thoughts impact their lives.
  • Clinical Social Workers: Clinical social workers evaluate a patient’s mental health and rely on therapeutic techniques with specific training methods attached.

Prescribing Professionals

Occasionally, medication may be necessary to help maintain a mental health condition. The professionals in this category can diagnose and prescribe medication based on the patient in question.
  • Psychiatrists: These are licensed medical doctors specializing in psychiatric training. They can diagnose and prescribe as well as provide therapy.
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners: These professionals can also provide support and assessment along with diagnosis, but many states require they be supervised by a psychiatrist.
  • Primary Care Physicians: These are usually general practitioners who are the point of first contact for those with a mental illness. They may diagnose a problem but refer the patient to a psychiatrist for a second opinion.
  • Psychiatric Pharmacist: These are pharmacists that specialize in mental health care. They can recommend or prescribe various medications, and many of them have completed supplementary training in child/adolescent psychiatry and substance use disorders.
  • Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP): FNPs can provide general medical care and refer a person they think may have a mental disorder to a psychiatrist for acomplete diagnosis.

Mental Health andCo-Occurring Disorders

Occasionally, when a person has a substance use disorder, they also have other mental health conditions that impact the treatment of the primary condition. These are known as co-occurring disorders. Unfortunately, these diagnoses can be complicated since the presence of one problem usually masks the other issue entirely. 

For example, symptoms of addiction can resemble symptoms of mental illness and vice versa. Sometimes, individuals suffering from mental health problems don’t care to deal with them because they believe it’s irrelevant to their substance use disorder problem.

Individuals diagnosed with mental health problems typically use substances to feel better. Unfortunately, using alcohol or drugs as a bandage to repair mental health issues usually ends in addiction. The substance use disorder becomes a crutch and further damages their ability to develop long, healthy relationships with others. 

The vicious cycle is self-feeding, as the destruction of these relationships inevitably leads the person to drown their sorrows in drugs or alcohol, fueling their addiction and exacerbating their mental health issues. Individuals that stop using alcohol or drugs will find that the symptoms of their mental illness persist. Treatment centers need to be aware of these conditions and treat them alongside the individual’s addiction recovery plan.

Treatment During A Crisis

Mental health crises happen when people’sthoughts or emotions put them at real risk of harming themselves. A crisis may also occur if the person may find it hard to care for themselves or provide themselves with access to shelter, food, or clothing. Crises can also result from acute conditions that deteriorate rapidly into dangerousness or an inability to care for oneself. Mental health crises don’t have any particular trigger, and because they tend to occur anywhere and at any time, it’s hard to predict when they will show up. Dealing with a mental health crisis usually requires a professional to ask questions and determine how much of a threat the situation may turn out to be.

Suicidal Ideation and Major Depression

While a patient may mention the word “suicide” when they discuss their crisis, this isn’t a sign that they are suicidal automatically. Suicidal thoughts and actions are separate things. However, once a person demonstrates a risk of harm to themselves, those thoughts can quickly translate into actions, meaning that the threat of a person killing themselves should be escalated. Physiciansusually go through a series of steps to determine if the person may need assistance and how significant a threat they are to their own well-being.
  •  Ideation: The patient thinks or talks about suicide or mentions that death is an option.
  •  Plan: Does the person have a solid plan about killing themselves?
  •  Intent: What’s the likelihood of the person following through on their plan? How serious are they about their plans?
  •  Ability: Does the person have access to the resources to carry out their plan?
  •  Mitigating Factors: Does the person’s ideology or religion stop them from committing suicide? Do they have others that rely on them were they to die?
Major depressive disorder may lead to thoughts of suicide. Depressive disorder also brings with it other symptoms such as loss of interest or pleasure in activities or feeling worthless, and saddling oneself with illogical guilt.

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Medications For Mental Health Management

Mental illness can be treated using medications, but it’s important to note that the medication needs to be backed up with therapy. These medications can be divided up into several primary classes.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are used to treat depression and used in other health conditions such as anxiety or pain management. They are also used to treat ADHD sometimes, even though the FDA doesn’t approve of their use in this manner. The most common antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Fluoxetine and Sertraline.
Antidepressants may also be serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), including drugs like venlafaxine and duloxetine.

Anti-Anxiety Medication

These medications help alleviate the feelings of anxiety that lead to worry, fear, or panic attacks. Benzodiazepines are the most common type of anti-anxiety medication, but they are used sparingly. Short half-life (short-term) benzodiazepines are used to treat generalized anxiety, along with beta-blockers.
A benzodiazepine isn’t typically used for long-term treatment because of its addictive nature.Beta-blockers are useful in managinganxiety symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and sweating. Buspirone is sometimes used as a long-term treatment for chronic anxiety.

Mood Stabilizers

Medications in this class are used to treat bipolar disorder, where a person’s mood swings between extremes. Occasionally they are used in combination with antidepressants to treat depression.

Antipsychotics

Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia rely on antipsychotics for the medical portion of their treatment. They are also used in combination with antidepressants for treating depression and might also be used alongside mood stabilizers.

Stimulants

These drugs stimulate the user into action and are most often used with adolescents that have ADHD. Occasionally they are also used to treat other conditions such as narcolepsy.

Forms Of Mental Health Treatment

Mental health treatment has several options depending on the type of disorder and how advanced it has become. Clients can choose between these options, and some are more welcoming than others. 

Among the treatment options that someone suffering from mental health disorders can choose are:

  • Psychiatric Hospitalization: A person can be voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. Typically, individuals who enter hospitalization suffer from severe mental health symptoms or suicidal ideation with the intent and means to carry out their threats. When forced treatment is mandated, this is often the form.
  • Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient treatment offers a place for a person to stay 24/7 throughout their regimen. Other patients and mental health staff surround the person at the facility that can help them through therapy. Medication may also be provided if needed, although the patient cannot leave the facility until the end of the treatment.
  • Outpatient Treatment: Patients in outpatient treatment don’t stay at the facility but must come in for scheduled treatment. Outpatient treatment is better for individuals who don’t have severe symptoms of mental illness that impact their daily lives.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Dual diagnosis happens when a person suffers from a substance use disorder alongside another mental illness. Both of these conditions need to be treated alongside each other for the patient to have a chance of recovery. Dual diagnosis treatments offer the solution to this problem.
  • Psychotherapy: Also known as “talk therapy,” this version of treatment comes in different categories, including group therapy, family therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The mental health professional can help the patient deal with their current situation and develop new coping skills over the long term.

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Achieving Desired Mental Health Outcomes

No two individuals have the same mental health makeup; that’s why treating mental health issues can be difficult. To achieve the desired mental health outcomes, each treatment must be unique and directly appeal to the person’s problems. At South Shores Recovery, the personalized approach is how we treat all of our clients, with a plan based around their unique circumstances and the reasons for seeking assistance.
With trained staff qualified to help you, South Shores can provide you with the treatment you need to regain your mental health and clarity. No matter what issue you may be having, we can help. Give us a call today to find out more about our methods and the path to Admission.