Diagnosis, and Treatment of Mental Disorders.



When you think there is something wrong with your mind, it’s likely that you will want to get some kind of help for it. But when it comes to your mind and your emotions it is tough to know where to start. Dr John Grohol suggests that when it comes to problems with the mind, it is always a good idea to check with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, first. It is very simple for mental disorders to be diagnosed and, even if not, they will be able to suggest a suitable course of action.

It is also a good plan to check in with your doctor, or physician, if you haven’t done so already, just to rule out any physical causes for your symptoms. Physical symptoms can have also been known to be a contributing factor towards mental disorders, so it is very possible that there may be more than one force at work. As well as this, it is possible for physical problems to mimc themselves as mental disorder symptoms.

With these two steps in place, any diagnosis can be treated in an effective way, using resources from both healthcare professionals. A lot of the time it takes two specialists to treat mental health disorders, it can be more effective. Different disorders require different treatments; for example, the more serious of mental illnesses are treated with psychotherapy and medication (this includes things like depression and bipolar disorder). And there is a plethora of research suggesting that this combination is the most effective regime, that will treat the patient faster.

Don’t forget, however, that if you are offered only one of the two (psychotherapy or medication) it is important to ask questions, such as; why are you recommending psychotherapy/medication? It is important that you understand their treatment decision, and feel comfortable with it.

A basic outline of good treatment for mental health disorders:

  • Visit a mental health care professional (within a week of insurance approval if needed)
  • The first session will be a preliminary diagnosis, in order to determine an effective course for treatment.
  • Think about, or ask about, whether psychotherapy/medication is appropriate for you.
  • For psychotherapy, you will be referred to a psychiatrist, and you will be given follow up appointments for roughly 4-8 weeks until the symptoms subside. If combined with medication this can take up to 8 weeks.
  • For medication, you will be referred to a psychologist, and will be given weekly appointments for check-ups until symptoms have subsided. Alone, this can take up to 12 months.

This is just a very basic idea of some of the steps you may take in the beginning – it may not apply to everyone, or every mental disorder, as everyone’s situation is unique. It may be that you require a different type of treatment.

One the whole, this is the most popular workflow, and the most reliable. However they may take time. It can take up to 8 weeks to feel the effects of some medication, and psychotherapy can take up to 12 months to have a significant effect. Long term effects of these can be great, though. Don’t give up, that is the key thing.


Written by: Philippa Berry

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Published on: 2nd March 2013

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