Psychological illness is a wide range of mental conditions that affect your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Some are short-term in nature and may resolve with treatment, while others will persist long after treatment has ended.
Symptoms of psychological illness vary and can be so confusing for the person affected that they don’t recognize it as a problem until it becomes severe enough to interfere with their daily life. Your doctor can help you get the diagnosis and treatment that is right for you.
Common causes of psychological disorders include genetics, environmental factors before birth and brain chemistry. People who have a family history of mental illness are at higher risk for developing one themselves. Other risk factors include social circumstances, exposure to toxins or alcohol while in the womb, and stressful situations during childhood.
Most people with a psychological disorder receive some form of treatment. These treatment options include psychotherapy, medication and social support.
Counseling (or “talk therapy”) is when you talk with a trained mental health professional in a safe and confidential environment about your thoughts, feelings and behavior. It can be a very useful way of getting to the root of problems and helping you gain new skills.
Medication is another form of treatment that may be needed if your symptoms are very severe and interfering with your day-to-day life. Some medications can cure your condition, while others are designed to treat the symptoms.
In general, most people with a psychological disorder benefit from some combination of treatments, which may include psychotherapy and medications. These are all important parts of a comprehensive treatment plan.
There are many different kinds of treatment, each with its own set of benefits and side effects. Medication, for example, can help you control symptoms such as anxiety or depression, while psychotherapy is the most effective treatment when used with medication.
Psychotherapy can be especially helpful for those who experience long-term and severe symptoms, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. It can help you explore your thoughts and beliefs, manage emotions and behaviors and learn coping skills that will help you live with your condition.
Some of the most effective and common types of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy. You can find out more about these therapies at the National Institute of Mental Health website.
In addition to identifying the cause of your symptoms, you can also try to change your lifestyle and habits. For example, you can eat healthier foods and reduce stress. You can also take up exercise, or seek out a hobby that helps you relax.
You can also ask for help from friends and family members. They might be able to suggest someone who can help you cope better with your symptoms and give you support.
The more support you have, the easier it will be to recover from your condition. It can be a big relief to be able to discuss your problems with other people who understand what you’re going through and can help you feel better.