Mental Health Treatment: Our Evidence-Based Approaches
Many individuals with mental health challenges aren’t even aware of the presence of any type of underlying condition. It’s not uncommon for a mental health condition to go untreated because of a lack of awareness or simply failing to give the proper attention to mental wellness.
However, mental health is just as important as physical health. You wouldn’t let a physical injury linger without seeking treatment, so why should an injury of the mind be approached differently?
Mental health awareness among certain demographics, especially males, is lacking. Many people miss out on resources for help because of the lack of knowledge surrounding mental health conditions.
There are currently multiple treatment options for mental health, depending on the individual and the most appropriate approach. What is mental health treatment, and why is it so important?
What Is Mental Health Treatment?
Mental health treatment is one of several types of services and approaches to mental health challenges. The treatment aims to heal and find the causes of trauma and underlying mental health issues. This often occurs with substance abuse disorder treatment or other co-occurring disorders.
There are several types of mental health professionals that may be a part of this treatment. In the following section, we’ll highlight these professionals and what their jobs entail.
Types of Mental Health Professionals
Because of the complexity and scope of mental health, several different professionals specialize in this field. Except for a psychiatrist, most positions fall under the umbrella of being called a therapist or a counselor.
However, the specifics regarding each position are highlighted in the following section.
- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and will have an MD after his or her name. Psychiatrists normally deal with the physical aspects of the brain and what can go wrong medically. Primary care psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication for mental health challenges. Some will also provide talk therapy, although this isn’t their area of expertise. At a mental health practice, normally, individuals will see a psychiatrist for medication and a psychologist or someone else for counseling.
- Psychologist. Psychologists exist somewhere between psychiatrists and therapists. Some will have a master’s degree, while others will have a doctorate. Specific cases that include the presence of a doctorate degree earn that individual the title of Doctor. A psychologist will diagnose patients with mental health conditions using formal assessments and other testing. After determining the specific diagnosis, psychologists will work through avenues like talk therapy or other behavioral therapies.
- Social worker. Social work is an incredibly broad field. While some social workers may own private practice, many of them will work in public settings like schools, hospitals, detention centers, courts, and many other systems. They advocate for children and other underserved populations and help people navigate certain systems. Most of their work includes tasks similar to that of therapists and counselors.
- Counselors. Certain counselors are able to diagnose clients, but most of them specialize in various forms of talk therapy. Their goal is to help people overcome mental health challenges, life stress, and other obstacles that are creating roadblocks in their lives. LPC is short for licensed practitioners counselor, while an NCC is a nationally certified counselor. Both of these positions require a master’s degree in counseling. Additionally, certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors specialize in substance abuse recovery. One of the most common places of employment for these types of counselors is at some variation of a rehab facility.
Each of these types of mental health professionals is well-trained in the challenges associated with mental health. One of the most common areas of expertise includes identifying risk factors for mental health disorders. The next section focuses on these specific risk factors.
What are the Risk Factors for Mental Health Disorders?
There are significant areas of risk that exist for mental health disorders. These risk factors outline many potential situations, many of which are external in nature.
Many mental health disorders are products of trauma from various dynamics in an individual’s life. These traumas can range from adverse childhood events all the way down to socioeconomic factors that drive feelings of stress and chronic depression.
Some of the most significant mental health disorder risk factors are listed below.
Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events in adolescence that potentially lead to mental health challenges later in life. The brains and central nervous systems of children are heavily affected by ACEs because the fact they exist in the developmental stage.
There seem to be 10 distinct ACEs present during the adolescent stage, all of which lead to subsequent mental health challenges later in life:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Family members who are depressed or diagnosed with mental illness
- Family members who are addicted to alcohol or drugs
- Family members who are in prison
- Witnessing their mother’s abuse
- Losing a parent to separation, divorce, or death
The effects of these experiences aren’t fully understood during the years in which they occur. Children lack the ability to process major events like this, leaving them vulnerable to the mental challenges associated with them much later in life. After remaining buried, they eventually resurface in the form of mental health conditions.
Another risk factor for a mental health disorder is social and economic inequality.
Socioeconomic Risk Factors
Experiencing socioeconomic disadvantages like unemployment, low income, poverty, and debt are commonly linked to mental health challenges. Greater inequality within societies is related to a greater prevalence of mental health disorders. What specific triggers lead to these mental health challenges?
A low socioeconomic status may lead to greater concerns regarding neighborhood safety. In turn, this decreases physical activity levels in the community, leading to poor mental health.
Socioeconomic status and ACEs can play a potential role in mental health challenges leading to substance abuse disorder. This is when the existence of treatment for mental health and co-occurring disorders is vital.
Mental Health and Co-Occurring Disorders
Mental health and co-occurring disorders are extremely prevalent and often require some form of dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is the identification and subsequent treatment of both mental health challenges and substance abuse disorders.
Because of the effectiveness of treating both simultaneously, this treatment normally works best in inpatient rehab settings. Psychologists and other counselors work closely with patients in treatment to help them identify the underlying causes of substance abuse disorder.
Some of the most common underlying conditions include the following:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety/panic disorder
- Social anxiety
Suicidal ideation and major depression are commonly associated with substance abuse disorder. These situations can be explosive in severe cases, and having dual-diagnosis treatment centers available during a crisis is important for individuals seeking help.
The most severe mental health challenges combined with substance abuse disorder often require medications for mental health management. After sessions with counselors or a psychologist, psychiatrists provide information, and a determination is made for the most appropriate medication.
Medications for Mental Health Management
Medications for mental health management are not only appropriate but often required to promote wellness and a return to normalized thought patterns. Depending on the specific mental health disorder identified, specific medications produce different results. They can be effective in treating multiple conditions.
However, it’s important to note that medications for mental health management should never be viewed as a permanent solution. Additionally, patients must remain proactive in sessions with counselors to continue the effective treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders.
Failure to remain engaged with counselors for talk therapy and other forms of treatment while using medication for mental health management is counterproductive. This only provides temporary relief and, unfortunately, only masks the symptoms of a client’s mental health disorder.
There are multiple mental health disorders for which medications are commonly prescribed. In the next section, these disorders are outlined, followed by other forms of mental health treatment that promote healing.
The Variety of Mental Health Disorders
The most commonly treated mental health disorders are outlined below.
- Depression is the feeling of deep, intense sadness. There may be frequent bouts of crying and suicidal thoughts.
- Anxiety is a generalized worry that lingers with an individual, often combined with panic attacks. Racing thoughts and inability to sleep are common symptoms.
- ADHD. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder causes compulsive behavior and difficulty concentrating.
- Insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Other mental health disorders like depression and anxiety often accompany insomnia.
- Addiction and substance abuse. Addictions to alcohol, prescription medications, and drugs are referred to as substance abuse disorders. Furthermore, these are mental health disorders at their core. Co-occurring disorders are common in individuals with substance abuse disorders.
- Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder refers to the two moods involved with this condition, each at opposite ends of the spectrum. On one side is depression, and on the other is mania. Individuals suffer between these two moods regularly, leading to many challenges. Our bipolar treatment track can help!
- Schizophrenia. Individuals with schizophrenia may feel out of touch with reality. Hallucinations and delusions are common as well.
- PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by a traumatic event that occurred at some point. These events include war, sexual abuse, and natural disasters. Certain situations trigger feelings like anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares when past trauma is linked with similar occurrences.
- Eating disorders. Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder are all common types of eating disorders. It’s not uncommon for individuals with this disorder to feel like their lives are out of control.
- Borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder can cause an individual an inability to maintain relationships. They are emotionally unstable and impulsive.
Besides medication, other forms of mental health treatment exist that promote healing for individuals suffering from certain disorders. Forms of mental health treatment are included in the following section.
Effective Forms of Mental Health Treatment for You or a Loved One
Forms of mental health treatment include the following methods:
- Electroconvulsive therapy is used for depression and bipolar disorder when other treatments provide no results. This treatment involves electrically stimulating the brain while the patient is under anesthetic.
- Peer supports are an important part of mental health treatment. During these groups, former users engage with each other and share experiences.
- Psychotherapeutic treatment options include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Psychodynamic Therapy.
It’s possible to achieve the desired mental health outcome with a combination of different therapies and possible prescription regimens. At Icarus Behavioral Health, we specialize in helping you make all of these things come together.
We provide a holistic approach to mental health with a full array of treatment and counseling options. If you’re ready to take the next step toward overcoming mental health challenges, contact one of our admissions specialists about our intake process and treatment options. Over the years, we’ve assisted countless individuals with opportunities for real healing and education regarding mental health.
Contact Icarus Behavioral Health today if you want compassionate solutions that produce real results!