Psychological disorders are health problems that affect how we think, feel and behave. They can cause serious distress or prevent us from living our lives as we would like. These problems can be short-term or long-term and may change over time. However, with appropriate treatment most people can recover and live productive lives. Treatment options depend on the type of mental illness and how severe it is.
Psychotherapy – or talk therapy – is generally recommended in combination with medication to treat mental illnesses. These medications include antidepressants, mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. These can be short-term or lifelong medications and are available as pills, liquids or injections.
In psychotherapy, we work with a therapist to address a range of issues that can impact your well-being such as depression, anxiety, panic and phobias, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Different types of therapy can be used including individual, group and family therapy. Psychotherapy can also be helpful for resolving relationship difficulties, workplace stress and grief or loss.
Some people are more prone to developing psychological disorders than others. Genetics, environment and lifestyle can all contribute to the development of a mental illness. People who have a history of substance abuse are also at higher risk.
While some symptoms of a mental disorder are obvious, it’s often more difficult to recognize other signs and symptoms. For example, people with anxiety or a depressive episode may experience a general lack of energy and an inability to concentrate. They may not be able to sleep properly or may avoid certain activities due to fear and worry. It’s important to seek help for any symptoms that are causing distress or interfering with your life.
Sometimes your symptoms can be so bad that you need care in a hospital or psychiatric residential program. This is usually recommended when you can’t take care of yourself or when you are in danger of harming yourself or others. Treatment options are varied and include 24-hour inpatient care, partial or day hospitalization and long-term residential treatment programs.
Some people with psychological disorders have symptoms that affect their relationships, work and school performance. For example, people with schizoid personality disorder tend to have detached feelings from their social relationships and appear cold and aloof. They may have unusual beliefs and magical thinking and have difficulty forming close personal friendships.
It’s important to know that your treatment team will be there for you every step of the way. They’ll develop a treatment plan that is just for you. This may involve a combination of treatments such as psychotherapy, medication and self-management strategies. It’s important to stick to your treatment plan and to keep in regular contact with your doctor. This will help you get better faster. It’s also a good idea to avoid making decisions when your symptoms are severe and to be aware of triggers that make your symptoms worse. You may also benefit from exercise, a balanced diet and adequate rest.