What does treatment for mental illness mean?
Mental illnesses can be treated and managed very well if one consults a mental health expert as early as possible. Just as physical illnesses have specific treatments, most psychiatric illnesses have scientifically proven and medically approved treatments too.
Let us understand what treatment of mental illnesses means. For physical illnesses such as fever, diabetes, thyroid problems or heart disease, medication or surgery works as a cure and helps patients regain their health. Mental illness on the other hand, may require other types of treatments. In most cases, the person receives psychological management along with medication (depending on the severity of the illness and the person's physical and emotional condition).
Important:Having a mental health issue does not mean that the person is incapacitated or unable to lead an independent, functional life. It only indicates that the person is in an emotionally vulnerable state where they may need help for some time. With proper support and a specific treatment plan, they can regain their health and lead a normal life, as they did before the onset of the illness.
Why is treatment necessary?
The purpose of any treatment is to help patients recover from their illness and resume their normal life and day-to-day activities. The treatment plan for a person with diabetes may include medical management coupled with lifestyle modification, whereas for someone who has a terminal illness such as cancer, HIV or AIDS, treatment helps them cope with the condition, and manage their life as independently as possible.
Treating mental illnesses is often more complex than treating physical illnesses and can include a combination of medication and therapy. The method of treatment often depends on the severity of the illness and the how receptive the patient is to a specific treatment. Your mental health expert will conduct a proper diagnosis before prescribing a structured treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the illness, you may require hospitalization, including psychosocial rehabilitation.
Hospitalization is recommended by doctors when the patient's illness is severe and they need constant medical care and supervision. A person may also need to be hospitalized when they may be at risk of harming themselves. Some of the options include 24-hour inpatient care, intensive outpatient treatment, and partial or day hospitalization.
Rehabilitation center is a healthcare facility (day care or residential) where the patient is provided a temporary place to live and take the prescribed treatment or therapy. Rehabilitation aims to help the patient develop functional, social and intellectual skills required to integrate with mainstream society. This helps the person carry on with their day-to-day activities as independently as possible and find a meaningful role for themselves, at home, and at work.
A team of psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists work together in providing service at the rehabilitation centers.
People with severe and chronic psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may be mentally disabled due to their illness, and may require rehabilitation to pick up basic functional skills necessary for daily living. In the case of disorders such as mental retardation, a process of habilitation is followed to help patients learn or improve skills necessary for daily functioning. Rehabilitation is also beneficial for people struggling with addiction or other behavioral problems.