Will We Ever Find Non-pill Solutions To Mental Illnesses?

People diagnosed with a mental illness like schizophrenia are given antipsychotic medications to reduce symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Although the medications will not really treat the disorder, it helps nonetheless. If medications are taken regularly, the symptoms may be treated and the patient will greatly improve.

Mental disorders are complex because no one really understands what causes it. No one also knows how it should be treated as the brain structures of patients with mental disorders are complicated. It’s difficult to treat yet there may be non-pill and evidence-based solutions that will help people with mental illness.

Psychotherapy

This is a group therapy between the patient and a trained mental health professional. The therapist will try to explore the patient’s emotions and thoughts by asking him to either talk or write about it. Depressed patients, for example, can talk about why they are depressed. The therapist would try to analyze the patient’s responses and understand the factors causing the depression. He will then try to restructure the patient’s way of thinking. The mental health professional also monitors and evaluates the patient’s behavior for the entire therapy sessions. He may also suggest art therapy to the patient to encourage self expression in the form of creating art. This is helpful and will boost patient’s self-esteem.

Support group

A regular meeting with people suffering from the same mental illness is also helpful. Since they all share the same goal – to be able to recover from the illness – they will support each other. This is also called a Peer Support group. Patients will no longer feel alone and helpless. At least they have someone that can really understand them.

Self- help plan

The success of this treatment will depend mostly on the patient and how motivated he is to improve. This may include journaling as writing is therapeutic; exercising to help the patient think better; eating a well-balanced diet; and other strategies that will help the patient recover. Having a working buddy helps. It’s best to have someone to remind the patient to keep going. A family member or a trusted friend is ideal for this.

Stress Management

Chronic stress interferes with the body’s production of two important hormones that helps it survive. These include the serotonin which helps the body sleep and dopamine which helps in the production of the pain killer endorphin. If the patient is able to effectively relieve stress, his condition may improve eventually. He may want to also try meditation to help him relax and breathe better. Managing stress can greatly improve someone’s well-being.

Mental illnesses should not be taken lightly. There are people who suffer silently because of it. They need all the help that they get. The non-pill treatment described above may not treat the mental illness right away as it’s a step by step process. It takes time and effort. However, if the patient really is willing to be treated, he will do everything he can to treat the symptoms and the disease itself. The treatments may not work for everyone, but they are definitely worth trying.