Treating Mental Illness Like the Flu

Treating Mental Illness Like the Flu

When someone is coming down with the flu, there’s no question that it is time to visit a doctor for treatment. It’s an accepted, obvious practice to seek medical treatments for physical problems. But there is still a stigma about the idea of seeking treatment for mental illness.

A new Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) campaign is working to break down this stigma. Erase the Difference is starting a movement that sheds light on the reality of mental health issues. It also aims to increase funding that is available for addiction and mental health services.

There is a substantial gap between funding that is available for physical health and mental health, making it hard for people to access the mental health support that is needed.

The goal is to remove the labels about mental health so that patients don’t feel embarrassed seeking medical help for mental illness. When medications are needed for an infection or physical disease, it is standard practice to visit a medical center. Unfortunately, mental health isn’t treated in the same way.

The truth is that mental health problems can be as life-threatening as physical health problems. One in five Canadian teenagers had suicidal thoughts in the past year. These increasing rates of suicide are affecting people of all ages. Additionally, mental illness often increases the risk of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction

Mental illness is as real as other physical issues such as cancer and heart disease. So, people need options to get the help that is necessary to overcome the mental challenges.

The Connection Between Mental Health and Physical Health

There is undoubtedly a connection between mental and physical health. When someone is hydrated, well-fed, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly, then these steps help to build up strength. It is common for recovering patients to find that these physical activities provide the foundation that is needed to support mental health as well.

At the same time, poor mental health increases the risk factor for chronic physical problems. Not only do mental health issues increase the risk of chronic physical problems, but physical issues can have an impact on the development of poor mental health.

Many holistic treatment centers focus on the link between the body and mind, supporting patients in the activities and habits that boost overall health and wellness. In addition to mental and physical benefits, people find it easier to overcome other issues such as addictive behaviours.

How are Mental Health Disorders Treated?

The first step for treatment should always be a diagnosis from a mental health professional. Thorough assessments can be done to determine the symptoms and disorders that need to be addressed. Then, the goal is to promote recovery in a way that minimizes the symptoms of the disease.

Mental health treatments might include one or more of the following options:

  • Therapy: Psychological treatment with a counsellor or doctor can help the person discuss their concerns and new thought patterns to manage the situations.
  • Medication: Prescriptions can be used to change the chemistry in the brain, which helps to restore balance and reduce the symptoms. Additionally, medication can be helpful for drug or alcohol withdrawal if addiction is connected to a mental health disorder.
  • Detox: In situations where a person is facing serious mental health challenges, an in-patient detox and psychological care can be helpful to get the patient back on track again. This treatment is most common for people suffering from addictive behaviour as a result of mental health disorders.
  • Support: Various support programs can be incorporated into the treatment program, such as group therapy, training, community involvement and more.

Talk to mental health professionals, and you will hear a range of suggestions regarding the best treatments for these disorders. But, most people will agree on one fact: it is important to customize the treatment plan based on the needs of the individual. So, the best course of action is to enlist the assistance of a team of professionals who can identify the best solutions for a treatment program.

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