How are mental illnesses treated?
Mental illnesses are treated with a combination of therapy and medication depending on its severity. Some may not even require medication, and can be addressed with psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or even a lifestyle change.
Why is medication prescribed?
Psychiatric medication is prescribed to manage the symptoms of the mental illness, primarily to enable the person to engage in therapy. There are five types of psychiatric medication:
Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety) and hypnotics (sleeping aids)
Stimulants (used to reduce drowsiness and elevate mood)
It is illegal to purchase psychiatric medication without a prescription. A prescription can be made only by a psychiatrist.
What is therapy?
Psychotherapy uses scientifically tested procedures to help a person manage their thoughts and feelings, and develop healthier habits. It offers a supportive, non-judgmental environment for them to be able to speak openly about their problems and share their emotions; helping them change unhealthy thought and behavior patterns.
What is psychiatric hospitalization?
Psychiatric hospitalization is when a person is admitted into a mental health establishment for any length of time—this can range between a single day to a few months—and provided in-patient care. Psychiatric hospitals are meant to provide a safe environment where a person can recover with the help of a structured environment and therapy.
When can I stop taking medication that I have been prescribed?
You must never stop your medication without consulting a psychiatrist, otherwise this may have an adverse effect on your brain. Once you no longer require medication, your psychiatrist will safely wean you off them. Most mental illnesses are treated with medication only temporarily to manage symptoms. There are exceptions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia where medication might be used for much longer periods of time.
Does medication make you emotionally numb?
Another common concern is that psychiatric medication numbs down emotions. There are multiple side effects that can arise from taking psychiatric medication. If your medication is making you feel numb or causing other side-effects like insomnia or low libido, you must get in touch with your psychiatrist so that the prescription can be amended. The medication is to help you get better; your feelings and comfort are of utmost importance.
Click here to read about the different types of psychotherapy
Click here to read about self-care
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