About Mental Health Problems and Treatment
Mental health problems are conditions that can influence our mood, thoughts and behavior.
While every person experiences feelings such as sadness, anxiety and anger, if the feelings continue for a long time they may start to disrupt our everyday lives. It’s the disruption of our everyday lives that signifies the conditions may benefit from treatment.
Individuals may mistakenly assume that what they we are experiencing is normal, never realizing they have a condition that can be treated. They may also fear that the symptoms are due to a weakness or to character flaws. In reality, mental health disorders are often medical problems caused by a combination of hereditary factors and life stresses. These problems are NOT a natural part of life and you CAN get better.
How can a mental health provider help?
Talking to a mental health provider about your symptoms is a first step toward treatment. The mental health provider will often work together with your primary care provider. A mental health provider has many skills that other health providers do not have, such as expertise in psychotherapy and psychiatric medications.
In some cases, your conditions may manifest as physical symptoms, leading you to speak to your primary care doctor. Symptoms such as low energy, changes in appetite, sleep problems, heart palpitations, and sweating are just a few examples of physical symptoms that can be related to a mental health disorder. Your primary care doctor can often be helpful in providing a referral to a mental health provider near you.
What kinds of treatment will I receive?
The most common treatments are psychotherapy, prescription medications (such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications), or a combination of both. As a result of research, these treatments have become very effective. The type of treatment most appropriate for you depends on the type and severity of your symptoms, your experience with any previous treatment, and your personal preferences.
Together with your mental health provider, you can choose the treatment that best fits your symptoms and lifestyle. Regardless of the type of treatment you choose, it usually takes a few weeks to begin to feel better, and full recovery may take a few months of treatment. Once a mental health disorder has been successfully treated, it can come back. It is important not to stop your medication or psychotherapy prematurely, and always discuss any such decisions with your mental health provider.