Mental Illness - Therapy and Treatment Options

There are many different kinds of therapy.  Appropriate treatment will be selected according to the diagnosis and severity of illness.

For some people, psychosocial therapy or social support is what is needed.  For other people, psychosocial therapy and medication are prescribed, for example, in severe disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia. 

There are many types of medication available.  Getting the appropriate medication depends on getting an accurate diagnosis from a qualified medical professional.

There are many forms of psychosocial therapy; including group and family therapy, marital counseling, recreational therapy, and occupational therapy.  These various therapies can help people with family relationships, communication skills, skills for daily living, and social and job skills. 

In some situations, treatment may take place at home, or in a group setting in the community. In other situations, hospitalization may be needed. Getting appropriate treatment depends on getting an accurate diagnosis from a qualified professional. 

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You And Your Family Can Help

As people begin to get better, it is important to prevent a relapse (recurrence of a psychotic episode), since a relapse can be demoralizing for everyone.

To help maintain the recovery process:

  • Identify reasonable goals that are obtainable in the near future.  Setting expectations too high sets everyone up for stress and failure.  Encourage and recognize progress, even if it is less than what was hoped for.  Goals for some people may be taking a course at school or part-time volunteer work; for others, getting out of bed or coming to the dinner table is an accomplishment.

  • Learn to reduce stress.  The sorts of stress that most people handle every day may have much more impact on someone who is ill.  Stress can make people with mental illness vulnerable to relapse.
  • Talk to each other and to the healthcare team.  Communication is important of you're all going to work together.
  • Be encouraging and supportive.  A critical, over involved, or overprotective attitude may be threatening to people who are ill and may undermine their confidence.
  • Learn problem-solving techniques.  It's important that people be able to solve their own problems.  However, you can all work together to identify problems and possible solutions.
  • Be sensitive.  Avoid comparisons to friends colleagues, or family members.  Other people's success at work, school, or in their social lives may only emphasize how far behind people are who are ill.
  • Encourage compliance in taking medication.  Families should encourage loved ones to follow the clinician's instructions regarding their medication.   Without nagging or criticism, you can help them remember to take their medication by pointing out how much they have accomplished.
  • Avoid relapse by knowing the early signs.  If you notice your loved one losing interest in things, becoming increasingly depressed, having difficulty concentrating, with drawing socially, having difficulty making decisions, having sleep problems, feeling overcommitted or over expansive, or if you notice other feelings or actions unique to you loved one, call the clinician immediately. Getting professional help early enough may prevent a relapse.

When someone you love is diagnosed with a mental illness, how can your family help? Your family should work together with the person who is ill and the team of mental healthcare professionals. Learn all you can about the illness; understanding can help you cope. Take things slowly, step by step. The speed of progress is not as important as the direction.

How to Get Professional Help

George S. Thompson is waiting to help.  Remember, the first step  is recognizing there is a problem and the second step to help is calling.  Call 713-395-1555 Ext. 2651 today to set up your first consultation.

Read about warnings signs, diagonsis and types of mental illness.