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Symptoms of mental illness range from mild to severe and may vary from person to person. Very often, patients suffering from mental illness fail to understand that they are sick and need treatment. In such a scenario, close friends and relatives should consult a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist on the future course of action. The treatment methods commonly practiced by mental health professionals are discussed below.

Psychological Treatment

This form of treatment is based on the belief that the cause of mental illness lies in the way a person reacts to or perceives things in his or her mind. These treatment methods help patients to change their way of thinking, perception and behavior, thereby, improving their mental functioning. Some common psychological therapies are as follows:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): Here, the patient’s thoughts and behavioral patterns are studied carefully. Then the patient and the therapist sit together to work out some new ways of thinking and behaving that should be followed by the patient. CBT is very effective in treating anxiety disorders and to some extent, psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy: Here, the influence of relationships on a person’s thoughts and behavior is closely observed and analyzed. Then the healthcare professional talks it out with the patient and gives some valuable insights and suggestions. This works best for those who have had a past record of difficult relationships. In such cases, it has been noticed that some improvement in those relationships can bring about drastic improvement in the person’s quality of life.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: This is meant for people with a borderline personality disorder. It helps them to deal with their emotions and responses more efficiently, so as to function better.

Medical Treatment

Medication is mainly required to treat those who are severely affected by mental problems. Different types of medications used are as follows:

Antidepressant Medications: As the name suggests, these are medications used to treat depression. These medicines are also administered to people with phobias, panic disorder, eating disorders, etc. It works well in 60 to 70 percent of the cases.

Antipsychotic Medications: These drugs were first used in the 1950s. Initially, the drugs used to have a lot of side effects, but due to certain modifications, today, they are available with lesser side effects. The best part of these drugs is that, they allow people with mental illness to lead a life with normal people. They do not have to spend years in the confines of psychiatric hospitals.

Mood Stabilizing Medications: This medication is good for patients with manic depression. It prevents the possibility of relapses of depression. Also, it helps to reduce the severity of depression.

Other Treatment Options

These are the options wherein the patient has to be admitted as an inpatient. They are as follows:

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): In this method, after administering general anesthesia, an electric current is passed through the person’s brain. ECT is generally used to treat patients with severe depression. Now, this is not used as frequently as it was used in the past. It is used only in cases where, other methods fail to show any results.

Hospitalization: This is done only in extreme cases. When some intensive treatment is needed, the patient is kept under observation in the hospital for a short period. Nowadays, as far as possible, medical practitioners generally recommend the application of treatment in a familiar environment.

Mental illness affects the mental health and physical functioning of the patient. It is like any other ailment and can be treated. However, it is important to get the right treatment at the right time.