The Birth of Psychiatry

The 20th century witnessed the birth of psychiatry. Doctors finally began to identify and name mental health disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They began to understand that mental health disorders were the result of an afflicted brain and not the result of supernatural causes, for example, the result of evil forces at work. Doctors realized that mental illness was the result of an afflicted, sick brain and began concentrating on the brain. They began performing therapies that included electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), insulin coma, simple sedation, and lobotomies. Lobotomies became very popular as a treatment for mental health disorders. However, later the practice of performing lobotomies was ruled inhumane and eventually ceased over time. 

In 1951, doctors serendipitously discovered the benefits of neuroleptic antipsychotic medicine on patients with psychotic disorders. These medications worked by numbing the patients. Doctors found these medicines to have a calming effect on the patient, making them indifferent to their surroundings. This greatly diminished their symptoms and allowed for relief. This was the first real breakthrough in psychiatry.

Many doctors began to prescribe these medications to their patients with very positive results. Since 1951, many medications have been developed and many have benefited from these medications, to the point of living unassisted and independently. Community support now exists in the form of out-patient facilities, allowing individuals to receive treatment without an extended hospital stay. Out-patient therapy is now commonplace for the treatment of mental health disorders.

Today, people with mental health disorders are living independent lives thanks to medicine. Asylums, once the standard, are no longer in practice, thanks to reforms. Those with mental health disorders, once stricken to hospitals or sent to an asylum for the rest of their lives, are now recovering from their disorders and living relatively normal lives. Medicine has transformed mental health treatment. Recovery from previously debilitating mental health disorders is possible when people are given the right tools, such as medications and community support. 

Reaching for & Achieving Recovery

Managing your mental health becomes much easier when you find the right: 

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Support
  • Attitude
How Do Psychiatrists Diagnose People?

A psychiatrist or therapist will evaluate you, using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which lists behaviors and criteria that are attributed to certain mental health disorders. Mental health treatment is consistent around the world because treatment in developed nations is based upon the principles of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the standard for diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. The DSM is the handbook used by psychiatrists and mental health practitioners in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide  to diagnose mental health disorders. DSM contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It is because of the DSM that mental health treatment is constant throughout much of the world. 

You may receive a diagnosis if certain behaviors cause distress or dysfunction for the individual or others, or if a behavior causes work or social dysfunctionsThe most common mental health disorders that are diagnosed are anxiety and depression. Women are more likely to experience anxiety or a mood disorder. Men are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs while coping with symptoms from a mental health disorder.

Therapy Available for Mental Health Treatment

There are 2 general types of therapy, psychotherapy and biomedical therapy: 

  • Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental health disorders by psychological rather than medical means. This is generally referred to as talk therapy.
  • Biomedical therapies are the treatment of mental health disorders with medications or medical procedures.

Both psychotherapy and biomedical therapies are used to treat mental health disorders.

Who Exactly Guides Mental Health Treatment?

Mental health treatment is guided by a psychiatrist and mental health team that could consist of a therapist, counselor, and/or case manager. 

  • A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health, including substance abuse. Psychiatrists are trained to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. 
  • A therapist listens to your issues and provides individual and group counseling. Therapists are trained to diagnose. However, they cannot prescribe medications.
  • Counselors evaluate their client's situation and problems and offer advice. However, counselors typically do not work with those diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Clients consult counselors regarding relationship difficulties, substance abuse, career advice, and more. 
  • A case manager will find out what services you qualify for, help get you access to those programs, and may help you make travel arrangements to attend upcoming appointments, if needed.
Be Wary of Mental Health Stigma

Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. Mental health stigma often results from those in society who group negative stereotypes and mental health disorders together. There are many common myths about mental health disorders, including the following:

  • People believe we are crazy, that we are dangerous, that mental illness is self-inflicted, and that we must be different from the rest of society.

Stigma has two sides: public stigma and self-stigma. When a person is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, many experience stigma from others and from their very own selves.

Public stigma, also called social stigma, is when people have prejudicial attitudes and discriminating behavior directed at those with mental disorders just because of their diagnosis. It's when people use terms such as lazy, crazy, or worse, to describe someone who is diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Self-stigma, also called perceived stigma, occurs when someone internalizes their perceptions of discrimination. It's when we describe ourselves as crazy, bipolar, or anything else derogatory. Self stigma is agreeing with the negative perspectives and stereotypes held by the public of the mentally ill.

A diagnosis can really impact your self-esteem negatively. It is important to find the right support, to find your crowd who supports you just for being you.

What are your thoughts on mental health treatment?
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We are an online peer-focused and peer-developed resource for those dealing with a mental health disorder. Come here, to express yourself, free of judgement.


Seek Medical Treatment and/or Psychiatric Services If Necessary. We are NOT intended to be a replacement for mental health and/or psychiatric services. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call your doctor, 911 or visit an Emergency Room for immediate treatment. 

All information here is intended for general information. Any medical information included on this website is based on personal experience and not from a doctor. This site is not a substitute for medical advice from a health care professional and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

Always consult your doctor, pharmacist or other qualified health care professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, existing or new medical treatment. Do not disregard medical advice or postpone consultation with your health care professional because of information that you have read on this website. 

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