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Support System: Helpful Ways to Treat Mental Illness

Individuals with mental health conditions are no different than those without them, and there are various ways to treat mental illness.

Unfortunately, some people fall for various misconceptions about mental health conditions, often stigmatizing them. Even if it is difficult for someone to talk about their mental health, it can be beneficial to open up about these issues with others. Consulting with trusted friends and family members is often the first step to helping one grow, heal, and cope better with their condition. 

Having an established support system and frequently interacting with loved ones are key elements to opening up about mental health. In today’s blog, we will discuss mental illness, treatment options, and the role of a support system. 

How is Mental Illness Diagnosed?

According to Mayo Clinic, professionals determine if a person has a mental illness by doing the following: 

  • Performing a physical exam: Before a doctor can diagnose a patient, they must rule out physical conditions that could cause their symptoms. 
  • Conduct lab tests: A doctor can check a person’s thyroid function and screen them for alcohol or drug abuse
  • Perform a psychological evaluation: A doctor or mental health professional will talk to a patient about their symptoms, feelings, thoughts, and behavioral patterns. The patient may be asked to fill out a questionnaire to answer these questions. 


Often, it is challenging for a person to self-diagnose the mental illness that is causing their problems, which is why we advise people to seek professional help. However, taking the time and effort to receive an adequate diagnosis helps a person receive the best treatment so that they can enrich their life. After all, the more information a person receives, the more they will be willing to work closely with a mental health professional to receive long-term guidance. 

Continue reading to learn about the primary classes of mental illness. 


What are the Main Classes of Mental Illness?

Neurodevelopmental disorders: This class covers a variety of problems that typically begin during a child’s infancy, usually before they begin elementary school. Some of these disorders include autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other learning conditions. 

Depressive disorders: These disorders impact a person’s happiness and sadness levels, disrupting their ability to complete daily tasks. Some examples include major depressive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. 

Anxiety disorders: Anxiety is a strong emotion defined by the anticipation of future events, marked by excessive worrying. It often includes behavior aimed at avoiding situations that induce anxiety. This class covers generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, and panic disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and related conditions: These disorders involve obsessions and repetitive thoughts and actions. Some examples include Obsessive Compulsive-Disorder (OCD), hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania), and hoarding disorder. 

Dissociative disorders: A person with these disorders experiences disruptions to their sense of self, often through dissociative identity disorder and dissociative amnesia. 

Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders: These disorders cause detachment from the real world and a person living with them may experience hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking and speech. The most prominent example is schizophrenia, but other classes of disorders can be associated with detachment from reality. 

Bipolar and other related disorders: This class relates to disorders with alternating episodes of mania—which are periods of excessive energy, activity, and excitement—and depression. 

Sleep-wake disorders: These are disorders pertaining to sleep that are extreme enough to require medical attention, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome


Fortunately, a person living with any of these conditions can seek help from professionals that know how to treat mental illness. 


What is the Best Way to Treat Mental Illness?

One of the most important things to consider about mental illnesses is that there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all remedy. Each mental health condition requires individualized care because treatment depends on the disorder a person has, its severity, and the treatment modality that works best for them. Although some people may have the same exact condition, it does not mean that the same medical prescription will work for all of them. In most instances, a combination of different treatment options works best. 

For instance, people with mild mental illness and well-controlled symptoms may only need treatment from their primary care provider. However, some people may need to work with a team to ensure that all their psychiatric, medical, and social needs are considered. A treatment team may include the following:

  • Family doctor
  • Physician assistant
  • Psychiatrist 
  • Psychotherapist
  • Social worker
  • Family members

A well-rounded support system of licensed professionals and close family and friends can help a person find value in their life again. 


How Does a Support System Help a Person Manage Their Mental Illness?

Although receiving treatment from professionals is a must when it comes to balancing life with mental illness, a person’s life does not revolve around a hospital or treatment center. This means that everyone needs a support system that will help them overcome challenges that are common with mental illness at home. Everyone deserves to interact with loved ones who can provide the following:


Emotional support: Everyone in a person’s life should provide them with emotional support. These people can be a person’s shoulder to cry on when life becomes difficult to manage. This type of support is especially important during times of stress and loneliness. 

Informational support: This type of support is when a person provides someone with guidance, advice, mentoring, and helps them process information. Some people are averse to criticism, but this type of support is crucial when it comes to making significant decisions and changing the course of one’s life. 

Instrumental support: People who provide their loved ones with this type of support help take care of their physical needs. For example, they may offer their loved ones a helping hand and go grocery shopping for them or bring them a hot meal on a day they cannot get out of bed. Such support is integral when people have immediate needs that must be addressed. 


One of the most important advantages of having a support system is that they can push a person to make positive changes in their life that they otherwise may not take. 


A Support System Can Help a Person Take a Leap

Some people with mental health conditions may be at risk for developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with complicated emotions and situations. However, drugs only offer a temporary high, and they can be harmful to people in the long-run. For people who are considering starting drugs or are already grappling with addiction and mental illness, staying at a dual diagnosis treatment center may help them stay in control of their life. 

Understandably, many people are afraid to go to a treatment center. However, a support system can help a person understand that rehab is an empowering experience geared to help people transform their lives for the better. Sometimes, a friendly push is all a person needs to make a decision that will positively impact the rest of their lives. 


Treatment is Within Reach at Ardu Recovery Center

Although there is no one specific cure to treat mental illness, having a loving support system can make all the difference in a person’s life. If you or a loved one is grappling with mental illness and addiction, Ardu Recovery Center specializes in dual diagnosis treatment. 

We combine mental health treatment with standard addiction treatment services to ensure a higher chance of a successful recovery. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have. We are based in Provo, Utah.