A Guide to Mental Health Treatment
People suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems often feel alone and don’t know where to turn for help. This guide will walk you through 10 common ways people look for help, explaining the positives and negatives of each.
10 Ways to Get Help
1. Friends and Family
This is a healthy way to deal with stress and mild symptoms of depression and anxiety and is usually a good idea.
2. Self Help
Self-help books and videos can be very helpful and are readily available
There have been numerous recent studies in the medical literature showing that self-administered treatments are effective. Going to a book store and looking through titles can be helpful, or just look on-line.
Positives: Can offer short term help, but also can provide life-long meaning and fulfillment. May also provide a sense of community and support.
Negatives: Sometimes, misguided individuals in spiritual communities can discourage people from seeking professional help, however, this is rare.
Psychotherapy involves seeing a licensed professional for talk therapy.
Speaking with a trained
Psychotherapy can be a big-time commitment and can be expensive depending on insurance coverage (though the benefit is usually worth the cost for most patients).
5. Psychiatric Evaluation
Psychiatric medications can give life changing results in a short time period for some people.
Psychiatric medications can have side effects, or even make things worse in rare cases. Seeing a good psychiatrist, who doesn’t push medications as the only solution to your problems, usually reduces the chance of any harm from medications, the worst that would happen is the medications may not work for you.
6. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
TMS can give life changing results without the side effects of medications, even for people who have tried medications without much benefit. TMS is now covered by most insurance plans.
The treatment requires daily sessions for 5-6 weeks, and some insurance plans require you to take medications before they will cover the treatment.
7. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Statistically, the most effective treatment for depression and other mental health problems. Usually covered by insurance.
Significant short-term side effects are possible, risk of anesthesia and the ECT procedure. Need to take time off from work for the acute series.
8. Intensive Treatment Programs (IOP)
9. Inpatient Treatment
Provides safety and daily care aimed at immediate relief from symptoms.
Can be an intense experience, especially if involuntary treatment is involved.
10. Alternative Medicine
Evidence may exist for the benefit of these treatments, even if they are still considered alternative in the mental health field. These treatments can work in conjunction with traditional psychiatric treatments.
These treatments are outside the scope of a traditional psychiatric practices, so your psychiatrist or psychotherapist may not be able to give you detailed information about the risks and the benefits of their use.