Some Considerations Regarding Mental Health Treatment

Should you consult the advice and opinion of a professional regarding your mental health? And if so, should do you as prescribed? Not every problem requires medical assistance.

Sometimes it's natural to seek other remedies that are not so invasive or costly. Medicine can alter the shape of your brain which is very invasive. And talk therapy sessions with a trained therapist can be costly. You may want to find other means of healing. This is understandable.

However, there are times when medical intervention may be necessary. You may be going through a stressful life event and need assistance. Talk therapy can assist us with returning to healthy thinking patterns and healthy coping techniques. And for those in the midst of depression or psychosis where your thoughts are controlling your behaviors, medicine can provide a relief from those daily obsessive thought patterns. 

Only you can decide if you need to seek mental health treatment. Whatever tools we have to assist us in making better choices in life are worthwhile to discover and mental health treatment can be a very beneficial tool. It's important to take care of our mental health and to continue practicing self-care. 

Establishing Your First Appointment

Ultimately, the main goal and purpose of mental health treatment is to improve health and quality of life. To start mental health treatment, you must make an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist. If you have medical insurance, you can always get a referral from your primary care physician for such treatment. So perhaps start with an appointment with your primary care physician. You could also call your medical insurance company and ask for a provider that is within your network. This may seem scary but just making the phone call to your insurance company may be all you need to do to get started. 

If you do not have insurance or a primary care physician, receiving mental health services can seem tricky to figure out but it is not impossible. Many who do not have medical insurance benefits but still seek mental health treatment pay cash for their doctor visits and also pay cash for any therapies (medication) prescribed. Call around and ask about psychiatrists or therapists who work with patients without insurance. Do not be afraid to explain your situation. A doctor will understand your situation and work with you. And once you find a psychiatrist or therapist  who is willing to work with you, you can start scheduling your appointments in two or three month intervals depending upon severity and recommendation of psychiatrist or therapist. There is also an app called GoodRx which assists in the cost of medicines and provides coupons which can make the cost of your medicine cheaper than it would be through medical insurance rates.

Once you go to your appointment, you will receive a psychoanalysis evaluation from either a psychiatrist or therapist who will then diagnose you. Receiving a diagnosis from a trained mental health professional can be very scary and bring about a mixture of overwhelming emotions. However, a diagnosis can also put things into perspective finally. Remember that you are not your diagnosis nor does it truly define you. It is simply an indication of your mental state which can improve. 

Your psychiatrist will probably prescribe medication or other biomedical therapies. But you can opt out of this. You can speak up and choose talk therapy instead, which are non-invasive and teach you to simply cope with your disorder. However, it should be acknowledged that there are times when medical intervention in the form of medication is necessary. And should be treated with medical means, other than just talk therapy methods. But this is in extreme cases. For instance, a person may be at risk of harming him or herself, then medical intervention may be necessary. 

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.

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. 

The truth is, they all work together, focusing on areas of impairment or difficulty and pathways toward improvement. Always ask your psychiatrist and mental health team for advice regarding your mental health treatment. 

Types of Therapy Available for Mental Health Treatment

The word therapy comes from the Greek word "therapeuein" meaning to minister to or to treat medically. Treatment literally means therapy. 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, with prescribing medications considered as less invasive measures rather than undergoing majorly invasive medical procedures.

Both psychotherapy and biomedical therapies are used to treat mental health disorders. Other beneficial forms of therapy which do not require medical intervention include art therapy, writing therapy, and music therapy. A mental health treatment plan involves several forms of therapy which are meant to assist with improving health and quality of life for the person afflicted.

Your mental health team will take an eclectic approach with regards to your treatment, involving techniques from both psychotherapies and biomedical therapies. For example, medications and cognitive behavioral therapy can be used together to greatly reduce the symptoms associated with depression. 

People Are Now Reaching for & Achieving Recovery

People can fully recover from mental health disorders. Research has shown that even those diagnosed with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia have been able to fully recover and were capable of regaining significant roles in society and of managing their own lives.

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

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Support
  • Attitude 

Understanding what treatment involves is your first step along this journey.  

What are your thoughts on mental health treatment?
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