Maintaining Mental Health
Mental health is a broad term. Its companion term, mental illness, is a catch-bag for a wide range of conditions that can affect your emotional state and also your ability to make judgments and function rationally. Among the conditions considered to be mental illness are depression, schizophrenia, a wide array of phobias, psychotic disorders, bi-polar conditions, and an array of behavioral patterns.
Furthermore, there are emotional and cognitive conditions which exist as secondary elements of physical illness or injury. From the depression that often follows childbirth to the despair associated with Alzheimer’s, there are many things that affect mental health. It should be obvious that with so many potential ways mental health can be put at risk; there are as many ways to restore health.
The Basic Considerations of Mental Health
- Do any problems have a medical cause?
- What are some of the wider uses of medical treatments in counseling?
- Do any problems respond well to pure counseling approach?
- When would a counselor use an eclectic therapy?
Physical Basis of Mental Health
Many forms of mental illness appear to have their roots in recognized medical conditions. From the dementia and depression associated with diabetes, to the chemical disturbances of bi-polar disorders, these conditions must first be dealt with on a purely medical level, and then on a counseling level. Whether the goal is to control existing illnesses to prevent side effects, as with diabetes, or to treat ongoing issues of brain chemistry, as with bi-polar, the pursuit of mental health in these instances begins with a physical approach. Only after the biochemistry has been dealt with can counseling serve as more than a stop-gap.
It’s important for those who carry the burden of a physically based mental health problem, and for those who are near to them, to realize that mental illness truly has physical causes. No amount of counseling, self-control, or revelation will completely address the issues involved. Medication for these conditions may be a life-long necessity. While the patient may have many things to “work through,” the disease can no more be worked through than an amputee can regain a limb by working through the loss in counseling. Responsibility on the part of the patient involves commitment to treatment and to ongoing counseling to deal with the many complications.
Other Mental Health Issues and Medical Treatment
Other conditions, while less clearly rooted in an ongoing physical problem, nonetheless respond well to a combination of counseling and direct medical treatment. Depression and anxiety attacks have proven to be responsive to medication, while often requiring counseling to achieve control and remission. By recognizing their blended nature, mental health can be supported by using a blended approach, using counseling to manage one aspect of the illness, and medication to manage another.
Strong Counseling for Mental Health
Still other conditions are classically best treated through a primarily counseling approach. Phobias, while they may be treated in part with medications to reduce anxiety, are often best controlled through skills learned through counseling, and through various forms of behavior modification. Work in families and relationships, work aimed at restructuring lives, grief counseling; all of these respond well to therapies focused on counseling treatments.
Blended Therapies for Mental Health
It should be clear at this point that most conditions affecting mental health involve blended treatments to some degree. Medical and counseling aren’t the only approaches blended to accomplish the most desirable results. In many instances, a patient will experience a wide range of approaches while working to restore mental health. Drawing from different schools of therapy, and using different techniques, exercises, environments, and styles, optimized therapies can be complex. Don’t be surprised to find that the best choices are blended choices making use of many different medical and psychiatric tools.
In almost all instances, a counselor will balance recognition of the physical effects and causes of mental health problems with strong counseling support of many types. Mental illness alters relationships with others, affects family structures and work habits, and places great stress on the individual above and beyond any narrow physical or trauma related disturbances.
To learn the best way to manage whatever conditions threaten your own mental health, make use of the information and services offered here. Whether you want to learn more about how a particular condition is usually treated, what counseling of various types entails, or how to get a referral to a reliable professional.