What Treatment Options Are Available?
Caring for a loved one with a mental health condition can be a strenuous and lonely journey. Knowing more about your loved one’s mental health treatment options can prepare you for the upcoming journey. Here is some information on common treatment options which your loved one may be undergoing.
Depending on the type of mental health condition, the doctor may prescribe different medications to help manage the condition and symptoms. Medications can help to manage mental health symptoms and make other concurrent therapies more effective.
Certain symptoms may start to improve after a few days, and one may no longer feel the need for the medication as they are feeling better. It is important to note that some psychiatric medications take a few weeks for the full effects to be felt, and it is essential that they are not stopped without the advice of one’s doctor. Stopping the medications prematurely may cause one to have a relapse.
Some of the common types of psychiatric medications prescribed are listed below:
Antidepressants are medications commonly used to treat depression. They help to improve the symptoms of depression and prevent the depression symptoms from returning. Despite its name, antidepressants are also used to treat other health conditions such as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and pain too.
Anxiolytics or anti-anxiety medications are medications that help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as panic attacks or worry. A commonly used type of anxiolytic is called benzodiazepines. Short-acting benzodiazepines and medications called beta-blockers are also useful to manage the short-term physical symptoms of anxiety such as trembling, rapid heartbeat, and sweating.
Antipsychotics are medications used to manage psychosis. “Psychosis” refers to conditions that affect the mind, where the person has some disconnection with reality, often having symptoms like hallucinations or delusions. Antipsychotics are often used together with other medications to treat conditions like OCD, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mood stabilisers are used primarily to treat bipolar disorder and mood swings associated with mental health conditions. They work by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain and helping to control unstable moods.
Medications can also cause some side effects but do inform your doctor if you are facing severe side effects e.g.
- Sudden mental status changes such as disorientation, agitation, or restlessness, having a high temperature, and having tremors or muscle rigidity.
- Development of a fever with rashes, or painful blisters on the skin and mucous membranes of the lips, eyes, and/or nose.
Psychotherapy can be conducted as the sole treatment for mental health conditions or can be accompanied by psychiatric medications. Common psychotherapies include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
A form of talk therapy that can help your loved one manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. CBT aims to help the person look for practical ways to overcome his/her current issues, and to improve their state of mind by changing the negative cycles and patterns. CBT is commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can also be useful for other mental health conditions.
Psychoanalytic therapy is a form of in-depth talk therapy that aims to help your loved one understand their past and how events in their early life could be affecting them now. Many problems such as anxiety, depressive thoughts, troubling personality traits may have their roots in past experiences or events.
Client-centred therapy (or person-centred therapy) is a form of talk therapy that allows clients to undergo a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, leading him/herself towards healing, growth, and self-actualisation.
Duration Of Treatment
The length of treatment varies from one person to the next, and depends on:
- What is their mental health condition?
- How well are they responding to the treatment?
- Are there any other factors that support or hinder their recovery?
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