One in five adults have a mental illness in the US, but less than half receive mental health treatment. Mental health awareness is increasing, but how are services treating mental illness?
Over time how to treat mental illness has transformed. Now the focus is on patient-led care, which often involves talking therapies.
Talking therapy, also known as psychotherapy, helps treat mental health illnesses. It helps treat everything from bipolar to depression. A trained therapist provides a confidential individual or group environment to share and understand difficulties.
But how does therapy help mental illness?
There are many reasons to take therapy, as it helps people in a variety of situations. You may decide to contact a therapist for you or a loved one when you experience:
These are some of the many reasons to take therapy. It can benefit anyone, no matter how small you think your problem is. You are not alone.
A doctor may recommend therapy, or your program may include therapy sessions. Otherwise, you can seek treatment independently.
Mental health professionals use different talking therapy approaches. It depends on the mental health difficulty, a patient’s preference, and circumstances. Sometimes therapists combine methods if they assess a patient needs this.
CBT is often described as the current ‘gold standard‘ of talking therapy. It can help treat depression, eating disorders, bipolar, anxiety, and other difficulties. Studies have found it has a high level of effectiveness.
CBT helps by breaking negative cycles of behavior and thought patterns patients have. Negative cycles lead to negative coping techniques, which traps individuals in a cycle.
CBT breaks cycles with coping mechanisms that result in healthy behaviors. The result? Individuals feel happier and in control.
Mental health difficulties can stem from family issues, such as communication problems. Therapy gives a space to share difficult feelings and understand them. It helps heal and problem-solve, so all individuals feel better.
Interpersonal therapy teaches an individual how to communicate well. It helps people improve by establishing firm boundaries and expressing themselves. It benefits any mental illness influenced by interpersonal relationship problems, such as anxiety.
Psychodynamic therapy helps an individual understand their past. It identifies the source of current mental health difficulties. It empowers the individual to acknowledge, then address issues.
DBT helps people regulate emotions and manage self-destructive behaviors. It treats borderline personality disorders (BPD), eating disorders, and other mental health difficulties. There are four modules, and it usually includes group therapy.
Group therapy can help individuals have a sense of community with like-minded individuals. Often, people feel isolated when they are struggling, so group therapy changes that. Sometimes it is also combined with individual treatment.
Group therapy can treat depression, eating disorders, bipolar, and other difficulties.
Other therapies include psychoanalysis, exposure therapy, and creative arts therapy. Some people benefit from animal-assisted therapy to feel safe and comfortable communicating.
Different approaches to therapies treat mental illness in different ways. Sometimes an individual has to try one or two therapies before they find what works for them. However, there are some common benefits of therapy that help treat mental illness.
Therapy helps people understand why they feel a certain way. Globally more than 264 million people suffer from depression, but many keep it hidden. When treating depression, a therapist gives the individual space to explore emotions safely.
Once a person starts to notice emotions, they can recognize triggers and causes of their pain. It makes them feel in control again and able to reclaim their life. They can feel confident about expressing their needs and how to do so in a constructive way.
Once an individual understands their emotions, they can make changes. Therapy also introduces more constructive coping mechanisms that help them avoid self-destructive behavior. Once the behavior cycle is broken, an individual can feel in charge of their mental illness again.
Therapy helps an individual resist the urge to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms. For people with eating disorders, this could be weighing themselves or checking calories. Instead, they have ways to resist urges and sit with difficult emotions.
An individual can objectively look at their mental health difficulties and find solutions. Some treatments will provide techniques to encourage behavioral activation. Techniques may include mindfulness, worksheets, and goal-setting.
A person will also move past any feelings of shame to acceptance. Therapy allows an individual to be vulnerable and get to know themselves.
Acceptance helps people remember they can make positive changes. It can lead to life changes and new goals.
Treating mental illness does not end when therapy does. It can take a long-term commitment to manage specific conditions and prevent relapse. Therapy also offers long-term coping solutions.
An individual has positive coping mechanisms instead of falling back into self-destructive behavior. Techniques may include meditation, breathing techniques, and physical grounding. For example, someone with anxiety or self-harm may use the cold water technique to feel in a state of panic.
They will have a crisis and relapse plan to know what to do if they struggle in the future.
Talking therapy helps people with many mental health difficulties. Sometimes an individual needs other care interventions, too, such as medication. Integrative treatment ensures they are in the best place to receive treatment.
Everyone can reap the benefits of therapy, as everyone needs someone to listen. Now you can answer the question, how does therapy help mental illness? The question is, how to find a therapist?
Enhance Health Group is here to help in Orange County. Contact us to learn more about the treatment options we have available.
Individualized treatment programs delivered in a private, scenic setting promote healing in your recovery journey.