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Categories: Mental HealthTherapy

Things Will Get Better! Looking Beyond Your Diagnosis

Have you been diagnosed with a mental illness? If you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to realize that you’re not alone. Good treatment along with the needed support can go a long way. Things will get better with time. Learning more about mental illness and your different treatment options can help you to recover a sense of well-being. Talking to your mental health professional about different coping strategies can also be beneficial.

Being Diagnosed With a Mental Illness

In order to obtain a diagnosis, you’ll need to consult with a mental health professional. They will take your symptoms and behavior into account while determining which mental illness you are struggling with. Your therapist will also talk to you about your thoughts and feelings. You may need to complete a questionnaire during your psychological evaluation. Mental health professionals are generally guided by the DSM-IV when making a diagnosis. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is important because, with the right treatment, things will get better.

Types of Mental Disorders

Depression is a common mental health issue, which is characterized by persistent sadness that affects your ability to cope with daily activities. One in ten adults struggles with depression each year. While feelings of sadness are a part of life, depression is diagnosed by mental health professionals using the DSM-IV. If you have suicidal thoughts, it’s essential to seek help immediately.

The pressures of our busy lifestyles can be a lot to handle. Therefore, anxiety disorders are another common mental health issue. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive worry, which affects your quality of life. You may find yourself adjusting your behavior to avoid certain situations if you’re suffering from anxiety. Other mental health issues in this category include phobias, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Psychotic disorders are associated with a disconnection from reality. You may be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder if you’ve experienced delusions or hallucinations. Another symptom that may accompany these types of disorders is disorganized thinking. Schizophrenia is a well-known mental health issue that falls into this category.

Bipolar disorder is associated with alternating periods of mania and depression. If you’re diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may have experienced high levels of energy and excitement which were followed by persistent sadness that made it difficult to for you to cope with your life.

Personality disorders typically involve emotional instability as well as unhealthy behaviors which could disrupt your life. You may also find that your symptoms have a negative impact on your relationships. Mental health issues that can be listed under this category include borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

Coping With Mental Illness

Having a support network can make it easier to cope with mental illness. Consider joining a support group where you can share your experiences with other people who are also having a hard time dealing with mental illness. If there are no groups in your community, think about joining one online. It can be helpful to stay in contact with friends and family who can offer you support during tough times. Another useful coping strategy is to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings.

Dealing With The Diagnosis of Mental Illness

The period that follows your official diagnosis can be a confusing time. You may not understand how it happened. How you got to this place. Perhaps you feel like your world is shattering around you like broken glass.

Why Me?

When you receive a mental illness diagnosis, you may experience a range of emotions. Relief, hope, shock, and fear are just some of the feelings that may accompany your diagnosis. You may also find yourself asking, “why me?”

Is It My Fault?

You may be stuck wondering what caused your mental health problem in the first place. You may even start blaming yourself for your problems. It’s important to understand, however, that there are various factors that cause mental disorders and that you are not to blame for your illness.

What Now?

A diagnosis is just the beginning of your journey towards reclaiming your life from mental health problems. Next, you’ll need to learn more about mental illness and work together with a therapist to develop a treatment plan.

Treatment Options For Mental Illnesses

Your mental health professional will determine which treatment option is best for you based on your diagnosis. Many professionals prefer using a combination of different treatments to get the best results.

Medications

Psychiatric medications may help you to find relief from your symptoms. This type of treatment is usually much more effective when it is combined with psychotherapy. Common psychiatric medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy could help you to get your life back on track. This type of treatment involves talking to a mental health professional about your symptoms, thoughts, and feelings. These sessions may help you to gain insight into your mental illness and to learn about useful coping strategies.

Brain-Stimulation Treatments

Brain stimulation treatments are considered a last resort if other treatments haven’t been successful. There are risks associated with this type of treatment so it’s important to consult with a mental health professional that you can trust before considering this type of treatment.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

You can support your treatment plan by changing your lifestyle and by using home remedies. It’s important to adhere to your treatment plan. Beneficial lifestyle changes include avoiding alcohol as well as eliminating recreational drug use. Eating healthy food and exercising regularly can also be supportive for your recovery. Lastly, you can decrease your stress levels by making your priorities clear and by decreasing your workload.

Participate in Your Own Mental Health Care

Did you know that by participating in your own mental health care, you can possibly achieve greater results sooner?

Read-Up On Mental Health Disorders

You can get better results from your treatment by getting involved in your own mental health care. Improving your understanding of your diagnosis can be useful in guiding you towards the best treatment. Read up on mental illness to discover more about your symptoms and treatment options.

Proper Communication With Your Therapist

Effective communication with your therapist guides your treatment plan so that you can receive the best possible care. By working together with your therapist, you can ensure that your treatment plan matches your personal preferences. With help from your therapist, things will get better faster than if you tried to cope with your mental illness by yourself.

Focus on Treatment, Recovery and Beyond

Feeling confused and overwhelmed when you first hear your diagnosis is a normal reaction. However, your therapist can help you to process these difficult emotions so that you can focus on your treatment and recovery. Don’t allow your diagnosis to limit your possibilities. Lift your head up and think of what you can achieve beyond the symptoms that are associated with mental illness.

Things Will Get Better!

It’s important to remember that things will get better with the right treatment and with support from loved ones or others suffering from mental illness. Let your diagnosis be the first day of the wonderful life that lies ahead of you!

Jenna-Lee Strugnell

Jenna-Lee Strugnell holds Honors in Psychology from Rhodes University as well as a BA in Psychology and English. She is the founder and director of the non-profit organization, Tales of Turning, which uses narrative therapy to support mothers in under-resourced communities. Jenna-Lee has training in narrative therapy, counseling, brain gym, applied behavior analysis and social entrepreneurship. She is dedicated to combining her passion for psychology with her love of writing to produce informative content for therapeutic contexts as well as for the non-profit sector. Blog: https://talesofturning.co.za/blog-page/

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Jenna-Lee Strugnell

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