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Mental Health Disorders – Symptoms & Treatment

Mental Health Treatment Facility

It is imperative for individuals to seek professional help from a mental health treatment facility if they are experiencing signs or symptoms of a mental illness. If left untreated mental illnesses cannot only create extreme havoc and hardship in multiple aspects of one’s life but untreated mental illnesses can result in homelessness, imprisonment, drug or alcohol use, hospitalization, and even suicide. Treatment at a mental health facility is aimed to treat the underlying cause that is contributing to the mental health disorder. With the proper treatment at a mental health facility, people with mental health disorders can live a fulfilling and successful life.

Who is subject to mental illness? 

Mental health disorders or illnesses do not discriminate as they affect individuals of all age, gender, social class, ethnicity, religion, or background. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in five adults in the United States experience some form of mental illness each year, and approximately one in five youth ages 13-18, experience a severe mental illness at some point in their lifetime.   

Types of mental health disorders

From mood disorders such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder to general anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and posttraumatic stress disorder; there are many different diagnosable mental health disorders that are relatively common in today’s population. These disorders can range in severity allowing some individuals to function in their everyday life with the help of a medication regimen while others may need intensive long-term psychotherapy but each mental health condition is treatable. Below is a list of common mental illnesses that affect men, women, adults, and adolescents:


Common signs and symptoms of mental health disorders

Symptoms of mental illness can range greatly depending on the specific diagnosis and the severity of that diagnosis. In general, individuals experience multiple symptoms that affect many aspects of their life. Common symptoms of mental illness are included below:

Treatment for Depression

Depression treatment consists of a combination of psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medications. When medication and talk therapy are used together, individuals receive the best outcomes in terms of symptoms relief for mild and moderate depression. The most common medication includes antidepressant classes such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), atypical antipsychotics, and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Medication generally takes approximately 6-8 weeks for results to take effect. Psychotherapy includes cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, problem-solving therapy, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

 The following are classes of antidepressants widely used in the general population to treat depression:


Psychotherapy treatment approaches for depression

Interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the two most common psychotherapy treatments for depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on reducing depressive symptoms by recognizing the thought the irrational thought patterns, emotions, beliefs, and distorted attitudes toward oneself and their environment that results in symptoms of depression. Once the recognition of maladaptive thoughts occurs, an individual can then work on their behavioral patterns to turn these negative symptoms around into positive outlooks and gain insight and self-appreciation in order to develop behavioral techniques such as self-control therapy, problem-solving, and social skill training. Interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on acknowledging the triggers associated with depression such as the loss of a loved one, a stressful social situation, the loss of a job, financial burdens, social isolation, or the loss of a romantic relationship. In this form of therapy, depression is viewed as a medical illness and the illness is the cause of the depression. Techniques that involve building relationships, learning coping mechanisms, and developing conflict resolution skills can help diminish these triggers and form positive insight into future conflicts. Other forms of psychotherapy that have been implanted to treat depression include the following:

Treatment for severe depression using electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a form of somatic therapy that has been shown to have the highest treatment rate for depression. It is indicated for the treatment of severe major depression in individuals who are unresponsive to both medications and psychotherapy. Electrodes are placed on one or both sides of the forehead and an electrical stimulus is generated in order to produce seizure activity for at least 20 seconds in the brain to rewire brain communication cells (neurons) and their hormones (neurotransmitters). This procedure is performed under anesthesia and is usually conducted two to three times a week and usually consists of six to 12 treatments.

PTS Disorder Treatment

Treatment for PTSD includes both medication and talk therapy. The two medications to treat PTSD that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil). Both of these medications are antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is important to note that antidepressants can treat other mental health disorders besides depression. 

Psychotherapy treatments for PTSD include cognitive behavioral therapy, which includes cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy, and stress inoculation therapy. Other types of psychotherapy include art therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), hypnosis, anxiety management, play therapy, and relaxation techniques.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Anxiety disorders can be treated with a combination of medication and talk therapy. When both medication and therapy are used in combination versus alone, the individual has a higher rate of faster clinical outcomes with longer-lasting effects. The two classes of medications used to treat anxiety disorders are antidepressants and benzodiazepines, however, benzodiazepines are usually the last resort as they have high addiction potential.

Pharmacological treatment for anxiety 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), both are categorized as antidepressants, are the most common medications for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The following are a list of specific medications to treat anxiety disorders that fall into these medications classes:

Other pharmacological agents used as a second-line treatment for anxiety include benzodiazepines and buspirone. Buspirone is a medication in its own class that is commonly used to treat generalized anxiety disorder. Benzodiazepines, commonly known as “nerve pills” can also be used to treat specific anxiety disorders such as phobias and social anxiety however these medications should be used with caution as they have a high potential for abuse.

Psychotherapy treatment approaches for anxiety

Exposure therapy is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that exposes the underlying triggers to the individual a repeated number of times until the feared stimulus or response is eliminated. Examples include exposing the client who becomes anxious in crowded spaces to images of congested train stations. This is an example of imaginal exposure therapy. Overtime this individual will become more comfortable with the image and will be able to venture into these congested public spaces without having an irrational fear that triggers an anxiety attack.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar disorder treatment can be extremely complicated as it specifically depends on whether the individual is exhibiting manic phases or depressive phases and the severity of these phases. Oftentimes antidepressants can trigger manic episodes and therefore many individuals must be closely monitored when starting medication for their bipolar depression. If the individual is severely depressed and suicidal or is experiencing extreme manic episodes marked by psychosis then inpatient management is best suited.

Indications for inpatient management:

Which medications are used to treat bipolar disorder?

 Pharmacological therapy is indicated for manic episodes but the specific types of medication depend on the severity of the mania and the presence of psychosis. It is important to determine whether current medications, usually antidepressants, may be causing the individual’s manic, hypomanic, or mixed manic episode. In such situations, discontinue the antidepressants or other mania-inducing agents. Mood stabilizing agents and antipsychotic agents are medications of choice for manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Antidepressant agents are generally not used in individuals with manic episodes as this can worsen mania. Antidepressants are only indicated only when the individual is experiencing the depressed phase with absolutely no manic symptoms. When left untreated bipolar disorder can create havoc in one’s life resulting in severe behavioral issues and can also lead to self-harm and suicide. The following medications are used for bipolar disorder with or without psychotic features:

Psychosocial interventions 

Therapy has been shown to help individuals with bipolar disorder in addition to pharmacological treatment. These therapy interventions work to recognize the underlying triggers and causes and help individuals adopt positive and healthy coping strategies.

Codependency Treatment

Codependency can be defined as two people who rely solely on each other to the point that they cannot function independently. The other individual defines an individual’s mood, happiness, identity, and success. When addiction comes into play, the individual abusing the drug will depend on their loved one to give them money, bail them out of trouble or makeup excuses for their poor behavior. In a codependent relationship, one individual usually has a more passive personality and cannot make decisions for themselves and the other individual with a more dominant personality gets some internal reward and satisfaction from controlling the other person. Codependency can often be referred to as “relationship addiction” and it is solely treated with therapy which teaches the individual the importance of setting personal boundaries, reconnecting with family and friends, practicing self-care, learning to be independent, and being more aware of unhealthy relationship habits.

OCD Treatment

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder defined as having unwanted repetitive thoughts and compulsions. It was once classified as an anxiety disorder but is now in its unique category of mental health disorders.

These unwanted repetitive and persistent thoughts are either repressed or carried out by compulsions. Compulsions are repetitive actions in response to the persistent thoughts to relieve the tension and anxiety brought by the thoughts. Examples of compulsions include tapping, counting, praying, checking, hand washing, cleaning, and repeating words over and over again.

They are constantly worried whether they left the stove on, whether their house or car is unlocked, whether their shirt is unbuttoned, or whether they have something on their face or stuck in their teeth. These repetitive maladaptive thoughts can create havoc within personal relationships, and although the compulsions are meant to relieve stress, these actions can also cause a lot of distress for the individual and their loved ones.


Signs and symptoms of OCD

Since the obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by both obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, each of these subsets has its unique list of symptoms:

Obsessive thoughts

Compulsive actions

Obsessive-compulsive disorder treatment

Treatment of OCD is aimed at treating the symptoms through a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants that are used to treat OCD. This medication increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is depleted in this disorder. Exposure and response prevention and cognitive behavioral therapy are the two main psychotherapy approaches used in combination with medication to treat OCD.

Exposure and response prevention work to gradually increase the severity of the thoughts and compulsions to the individual in an attempt for the individual to become accustomed to these exposures and no longer experience an increased fear regarding these distressful thoughts and compulsions. The individual will first rank their thoughts from least distressing to most distressing, and they will be initially exposed to the least distressing thought until the individual can suppress their compulsions associated with this thought. The next most threatening thought will then be exposed to the patient, and so on.

Personality disorders

Personality disorder treatment

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help people with personality disorders to recognize their behaviors and change the core beliefs that underlie inaccurate perceptions of themselves that lead to these personality disorders    

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This type of therapy focuses on mindfulness, which is defined as having awareness of the current situation. DBT teaches skills to control intense emotions, reduces self-destructive behaviors, and improves relationships. This therapy differs from CBT in that it seeks a balance between changing and accepting beliefs and behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions:-

What is an outpatient treatment for mental health?

Outpatient treatment does not require the individual to live in a house but rather schedule appointments on an outpatient basis to receive maintenance therapy. Usually, outpatient therapy is offered once per week for one to two-hour sessions and works to maintain and sharpen skills that were learned from a more intensive level of care. Outpatient therapy can be an ongoing process for months to years, as it is considered maintenance therapy. This flexible schedule allows clients to continue with their regular responsibilities and continue living at home. Outpatient treatment usually takes place in an office setting or in a community mental health center between a therapist and the client where the therapist takes note of the client’s progression in recovery. Discussions may involve relapse triggers, coping tools, personal struggles in the home or workplace, and re-iterating steps of psychotherapy approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectal behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Individuals will usually also see a psychiatrist, as most psychologists do not write prescriptions if they are taking any prescription medications for their mental health disorder as it may take weeks or months to titrate the proper dosage.

Outpatient treatment for a mental health disorder is often used in conjunction with community outreach programs such as online community support groups, mental illness support groups for family members, or mental health rehabilitation centers where individuals within a community meeting on a regular basis to share their progress and help one another with the daily battles of recovery.

Outpatient therapy for mental health disorders

Individuals who struggle with the following mental health disorders and who have already completed a higher level of care or have a very mild form of the disorder may be able to attend outpatient therapy:

How much does outpatient therapy treatment for mental health cost?

Outpatient therapy for mental health or substance use disorders is much more affordable compared to a high level of care such as residential treatment or partial hospitalization. The cost for a therapist can range from $40-$250 per hour, depending on a variety of factors. If you have health insurance, check with your company to see if therapy is covered

Is outpatient therapy right for you?

Ultimately, successful mental health wellness stems from your commitment to the outpatient program. It is your choice to open up to your therapist and talk openly during group sessions. Opening up can be difficult and facing your problems can be painful, especially in front of strangers. It is important to discuss your treatment and care with your loved ones and the treatment team to decide if outpatient treatment is the correct level of care for you, at this time.

What is residential mental health treatment?

Residential treatment (RTC) is a 24-hour intensive level of care at a mental health facility for individuals who are in need of mental health treatment at residential mental health facilities. Most clients who enter a residential mental health facility cannot go more than a couple of days without having unhealthy thoughts and acting out on these thoughts.

Residential behavioral health treatment is provided by state-licensed mental health and behavioral health treatment centers with licensed healthcare professionals in community-based settings such as campus-based wilderness lodges, residential neighborhoods, and boarding schools. It is considered a higher level of care meaning that is a step down from inpatient hospitalization however it is more intense and disciplined than partial hospitalization or outpatient care. Individuals are not allowed to leave the facility unless they are granted permission to go on group outings with other clients.

Who can enter residential mental illness treatment?

Clients who require around-the-clock care for their mental health disorders should undergo residential treatment. Individuals who are struggling with minor medical complications associated with their mental health disorder should undergo residential treatment. However, if the medical complications are severe or life-threatening then the client should be placed in a hospitalized setting until they are medically stable.

What type of therapy is offered at residential treatment?

Each client will be under a treatment team consisting of a therapist, a physician, a dietitian, a nurse, and ancillary staff who will provide medication treatment, psychotherapy, lead group discussions and make sure that each client is learning how to adopt positive coping skills and conflict resolution skills. On average an individual will partake in five to six hours of therapy each day. The following are specific treatments that are offered at residential rehab:

Group therapy topics may include the following:

What is the average length of stay for residential mental health treatment? 

Residential treatment programs typically last 30–90 days, depending on each client’s needs. In some instances, clients will take part in a shorter inpatient treatment program, such as 28-30 days, and then transition into an outpatient care program that lasts for much longer. Although some inpatient programs only last 28 days, the most effective inpatient programs last 90 days or longer, per the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

What is mental health day treatment?

The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), also commonly known as day treatment, is perfect for clients who have completed residential treatment or partial hospitalization and are in the early stages of their recovery. It is ideal for clients returning to work, school, or other responsibilities on a part-time basis and who reside locally in a stable environment or at home with supportive loved ones. Most IOP treatment facilities occur in an office or a large room within a hospital, treatment center, or even a community center.

How much time is required for intensive outpatient treatment?

Intensive outpatient treatment requires individuals to obtain at least nine hours of group or individual therapy per week divided into three-hour sessions three to five evenings a week.

Who can enter intensive outpatient treatment for mental therapy?

IOP is suitable for individuals who are functioning well in society independently, have a stable home life, have a supportive network, and maintain their sobriety on their own throughout the week. Individuals in IOP usually will have completed a more intensive treatment program such as residential treatment (RTC) or partial hospitalization (PHP). However, some individuals may use IOP as their primary care therapy. All individuals entering IOP must have completed a detox program, have a robust support system, and must not be at risk of self-harm or threatening others to be enrolled in intensive outpatient treatment.

How is intensive outpatient different than standard outpatient treatment?

Intensive outpatient treatment provides more structure and a more intensive care level than a standard outpatient program while still accommodating the individual’s home and work life. Standard outpatient treatment is considered part of the maintenance phase in recovery. Individuals can attend individual, and group sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and will most often continue for six months or more.

What type of therapy is offered at intensive outpatient treatment?

The same types of therapies offered at higher levels of care, such as residential treatment and partial hospitalization, are also provided at intensive outpatient treatment. Family therapy is a significant component in intensive outpatient therapy as research has shown individuals have a much higher success rate and better prognosis when their family is involved in treatment. Group therapy and individual therapy, trauma-informed care, diet and nutrition education, coping mechanisms, and relapse prevention skills are practiced in intensive outpatient treatment.

Common topics covered in intensive outpatient therapy

What is the average length of stay for intensive outpatient treatment? 

The average length of stay for an intensive outpatient program is 12-16 weeks. After this, the client will enter a maintenance phase, better known as outpatient treatment, for a few months.

We Are Here for You!.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health illness or substance use and addiction disorder, we can help now more than ever! AKUA Mind Body provides an integrative treatment approach with multiple levels of care from detox, residential to virtual outpatient programs. With several facilities throughout the Sacramento Region, Los Angeles & Orange County Region, and San Diego Region, we aim to provide our clients with a solid foundation for healing and transformation. Gender-specific and Co-ed facilities available.

Call our 24/7 admissions helpline (888-629-6707) to seek help today!

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