Mental Health Treatment
It is tempting to take our mental health for granted when all is going well. However, when encountering an unforeseen mental health setback it may come as a shock to experience the difficult and sometimes debilitating effects of a mental health disorder. Suddenly, daily life becomes colored by the unpredictable mood swings, irritability, or desire to isolate. A mental health disorder can negatively impact all areas of life, including home life, our jobs, our health, and our relationships.
Relief from the symptoms of a mental health disorder can be achieved through a customized treatment plan that is designed for the individual’s specific needs. Integrated treatment elements will form a multi-pronged approach that helps ease the emotional disturbance resulting from the diagnosed disorder. Working in tandem with an expert clinical team provides the support and guidance needed to reclaim healthy functioning and to restore quality of life.
Mental Health Disorders Treated
The clinical staff is trained to manage a wide array of mental health disorders. These include:
Anxiety spectrum disorders. Within the anxiety spectrum of mental health disorders are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Specific phobias
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Depressive disorders. The different types of depression include:
- Major depressive disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Bipolar I disorder
- Bipolar II disorder
- Cyclothymic disorder
- Non-specific bipolar
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Brief psychotic disorder
- Delusional disorder
Outpatient Mental Health Treatment
Outpatient programs provide multiple treatment elements while allowing the individual to reside at home while receiving treatment. In an outpatient mental health treatment setting the individual is enrolled in either an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or a day program, also referred to as a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Each of these levels of care allows for the individual to remain engaged in their work and home life to differing degrees.
The IOP typically requires the client engages in nine hours of therapy and related activities per week. An IOP can be a step down in care from the PHP. A PHP or day program offers a more intensive schedule, usually in the range of 25-30 hours of participation in therapeutic activities per week.
Residential Mental Health Treatment
Residential programs offer a more intensive approach to mental health support within a safe, structured setting in which individuals reside for a specified period of time. The benefit of the residential setting is the ability to take a break from daily life and concentrate entirely on wellness without exposure to the usual triggers.
Residential care provides an appropriate setting for those individuals who are experiencing deteriorating quality of life and impaired functioning due to a mental health disorder. Residential mental health programs offer a higher level of care than outpatient treatment, with clinical support available around the clock. Treatment plans are tailored specifically to the individual’s specific diagnostic features. Daily routines include a full schedule of meaningful therapeutic activities that assist the individual in better managing the mental health condition. Some residential programs also offer acute stabilization protocol for individuals in crisis.
Evidence-Based Mental Health Treatment
Generally, both outpatient and residential settings will include the following treatment elements in the treatment plan to varying degrees of intensity. At the center of mental health treatment is evidence-based psychotherapy. The term evidence-based refers to psychological interventions that have been clinically studied and the results quantified. In addition to the following basic treatment elements, a residential program may offer additional services. Mental health treatment is highly individualized to address unique features in each specific diagnosis, but basic core elements include:
- Psychological evaluation. A clinical psychologist will conduct an in-depth interview as the initial step when developing an individualized treatment plan. During this conversation the therapist will ask detailed questions about presenting symptoms, chronic symptoms, cognitive functioning, physical and mental health history. From this information a tailored plan will be created to guide the treatment process.
- Individual Psychotherapy. Daily therapy sessions with the primary therapist provide the core element in mental health care. During these sessions the individual will examine the sources of emotional pain that could be contributing factors. Treatment goals are set early on, with benchmarks sometimes defined. Evidence-based psychotherapies might include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).
- Medication. The individual may benefit from medication that is designed to help relieve the main symptoms of the disorder. This relief allows the individual to better manage the condition on a daily basis, leading to a better quality of life. Medication may include antidepressants, sedatives (benzodiazepines), anti-psychotic medications, or mood stabilizers. The individual’s current medications will be reviewed and adjusted at the outset of treatment if necessary.
- Group sessions. Individuals in treatment for a mental health condition may find it advantageous to meet with others who are experiencing similar mental health struggles. The small group setting is conducive to opening up and sharing personal stories or struggles, with a licensed clinician guiding the topics of discussion.
- Family-focused therapy. Family members have an influential role in helping and supporting their loved one in managing the disorder effectively. Family therapy helps family members set realistic boundaries, as well as improve communication skills and conflict resolution techniques.
- Psychosocial education. These sessions assist the individual in acquiring new social skills, such as coping skills, stress regulation, and problem-solving skills. These skills will lead to increased self-confidence and self-awareness within social settings. The individual may be assigned a case management coordinator who can link them with other social service providers or community resources. These resources can offer additional support or services to further enhance psychosocial rehabilitation following treatment.
- Complementary therapies. The use of complementary therapies can help to augment the clinical results of the evidence-based psychotherapy. Holistic activities enhance the mind-body connection with restorative relaxation techniques. These might include mindfulness meditation, yoga classes, art therapy, or journaling.