Treatment for mentally ill patients has profoundly improved over the past decades. There’s better access to newer and more effective medications for patients along with more comprehensive knowledge of mental health disorders. Between the amount of research being conducted in today’s society and a better understanding (and tolerance) of mental health disorders in general, care for even the most severe mental illnesses has substantially improved. Whether you suffer from mental health issues yourself or are seeking advice for someone close to you who does, knowing just how much progress has been made in recent times is quite reassuring.
The sheer amount of information and knowledge available in today’s society means better understanding and treatment of all types of mental illnesses. There are numerous severe mental illnesses, which often interfere with a person’s daily life and require continuing care and management throughout a person’s life. Some examples include major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and borderline personality disorder. Whether an individual suffers from one mental illness or a combination of mental illnesses, it’s helpful to know that relief is possible through a customized individual treatment plan.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in four, or 57.7 million Americans, suffers from a mental health disorder in a year. The same source suggests that today’s top treatments for mental illnesses are quite effective, with 70 to 90 percent of individuals experiencing a significant reduction of their symptoms along with vastly improved quality of life. In most cases, it is a combination of pharmacological and psychological treatments and therapies that enable consistent management. Although today’s treatments yield positive results, some individuals go undiagnosed, leaving them with little to no access to potentially life-saving measures. This can lead to consequences such as unemployment, unnecessary disability, inappropriate incarceration, homelessness, and substance abuse.
Mental health and substance abuse often goes hand-in-hand. In some instances, the individual suffering from a mental health disorder tries to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol, leading a cycle of addiction and further health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, higher rates of substance abuse often coincide with more severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The source suggests that individuals struggling with more serious mental illnesses tend towards substance abuse, particularly cigarette smoking. The same source indicates that anyone suffering from a mood or anxiety disorder is twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse compared to the general population. Nearly 8.4 million adults throughout the country have a mental health problem and substance abuse disorder, but only 7.9 percent seek treatment for both conditions and 53.7 percent do not receive any treatment.
Today’s mental health treatment and statistics are vastly improved from earlier in American history. Those suffering from a mental illness were typically held in institutions similar to jails, according to http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/history/. In the early 1900s, more research was conducted to determine the underlying cause or causes of mental illness. Fifty years later, as the number of people hospitalized for mental illnesses reached an all-time high, breakthroughs were being made to help correct imbalances in the brain through powders and pills. Decades later, a combination of increased awareness, general acceptance, and improved medication and treatment facilities has led to more efficient treatment of mental illnesses, regardless of severity.
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