Over the past decade, there have been immense breakthroughs in technology used to treat mental illnesses, medications used to treat mental illnesses, and alternative medicines that have proven effective in treating mental illnesses. From new and improved mood stabilizers with less side effects, to alternative medicines and practices like sensory deprivation and variations of vitamins and minerals, mental illness doesn’t hold the same sentence that it once did.
Although the severity of these illnesses haven’t changed, the way in which we view mental illnesses have changed greatly over the past even ten years. What was once a life sentence and a total mystery has now become a minor hiccup in the progression of life. Some of the most accomplished people in business, entertainment, and even medicine are people who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder. While these diagnosis can range from mild to severe, different medication, therapy, and rehab for depression has made it possible to live a full life despite having a mental illness.
Mental illnesses like schizophrenia have also become more possible to treat with some of the newer antipsychotic medications as well. Along with mindfulness practices, improved diets, exercise, and talk therapy, mental illnesses no longer have to seem like they’re a handicap of any sort. In fact, some of the most creative people in history have suffered from various mental illnesses.
As the stigma of substance abuse has slowly dwindled as more and more people have suffered from addiction, the stigma of mental health seems to be on the decline as well. The more openly we can speak about our mental illnesses, the more likely the stigma will diminish and even more treatments will become available for those of us who suffer from them.
Many treatment centers offer support for dual diagnosis, which means that if the addict or alcoholic also suffers from mental health disorders, usually ones that are minor in severity, they can also treat the mental health disorder. By choosing a facility that specializes in individualized mental health treatment, you’re insuring yourself or your loved one that their mental illness will not go untreated or unrecognized. While it’s suggested to wait a year after the date of last drug use in order for an accurate diagnosis, many times the symptoms have been prevalent for years or much of the sufferer’s life.
Along with the advancements in technology, many advancements have been made as far as the style and suitability of the treatment center.
Mental health facilities today are much more comfortable than they previously were known to be. Breaking away from the hospital type setting, many offer private or shared rooms with comfortable beds, clean living arrangements, amenities like television or even a swimming pool, and 24/7 staff supervision who act much like peer mentors or friendly support. These facilities feel less like a hospital and more like supportive living, which they are.
Mental illnesses aren’t the same life sentence that they once were. If you or your loved one is suffering from any sort of mental illness or co-occurring disorder, help is available for you now. Outpatient programs are also available so that you or your loved one can live in the comfort of home, while still benefiting from personalized mental health treatment.
What to Expect at a Mental Health Treatment Center
Most centers will have weekly or sometimes bi-weekly meetings with a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner. Some facilities have process groups with each therapist and their clients, as well as individual sessions that can be as many as three times a week, but most often are twice a week as well as group sessions. A case worker will often meet with clients to help them with any legal or outside issues they may have. Caseworkers usually meet once or twice a week as well, and also help to plan aftercare with the client. Ranging in different activities, many centers will also have outings to the movies or into the community to help clients become acclimated into regular living again.
It’s not uncommon for clients to have visitors or even have day passes if family or relatives are visiting. Many centers will also offer a family night or a family session so that family members are welcome to come for therapy with their loved one. This is especially helpful for families who might not know how to respond to their loved one’s illness, or for any families who are struggling to understand the difficulties of living with someone who has a mental illness. While these are particularly helpful, phone sessions are usually available for families who can’t make it in person.
Many holistic treatment centers will offer alternative treatments as well as traditional, which may or may not include mediation groups and practices, yoga and other wellness activities, meeting with a Spiritual Advisor, EMDR, and sometimes even equine therapy. It’s not uncommon for holistic centers to encourage their clients to find a hobby or a passion like planting or arts and crafts. Holistic refers to treating the “whole,” of somebody, which also includes recreational and spiritual. A spiritual advisor is somebody who meets with clients and encourages their clients to explore their beliefs about spirituality, life, love, and the connection they have to these things. A spiritual advisor is usually somebody who is familiar with many different types of religion and theosophical beliefs, and doesn’t push their beliefs onto anyone else. Their purpose is to help the client explore their own beliefs and truths. While many recovery programs encourage spirituality to be apart of their healing, it is NOT a requirement for all.
Mental illnesses are no longer the mystery that they once were. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental illness and treated proper go on to live full and successful lives. By finding a facility that specializes in treating co-occurring disorders and mental health issues, you’re insuring the prosperity of you or your loved one and the longevity of their success and happiness.
About the Author
This post comes to us from Crownview Co-Occurring Institute, a mental health and addiction treatment center in San Diego, California. Specializing in the treatment of trauma, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, Crownview is a leader in providing quality mental health care in a residential setting. Visit Crownview at www.CrownviewCI.com.