Two Ways to Treat Mental Illness
Mental health is – thankfully – widely talked about now. Your mental health is the state of your thoughts and emotions. With good enough mental health, you can manage the stresses of your life, recognise your abilities and function daily. With poor mental health, stress is overwhelming, and you struggle to live the life you wish for. When your thoughts and behaviours fit a criterion that gives you a diagnosis of a mental disorder, it is mental illness. Not everyone feels comfortable with the term mental illness, and you might prefer to describe it as mental health problems or mental health issues. When you have mental health problems, you may experience a sudden, significant change in thinking, emotions and behaviour, or it might feel like they’ve been there a lifetime. Your thinking, emotions or behaviours impede your functioning in work, social or family activities.
Treatments for Mental Illness
Historically, psychiatrists prescribed medications for mental illness without holistic consideration. Currently, some doctors are raising concerns about the lack of personal exploration. Although not mainstream or common by any stretch of the imagination, treatment for mental illness is changing. Doctors now see importance in lifestyle changes, such as optimal nutrition and sleep. They also recognise the effect of trauma and epigenetics on mental illness.
Continued below, you will find just two of many mental health treatments for diagnosed mental illness.
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Antipsychotics are a medication that treats psychosis. Psychosis occurs when your perception of reality is different to what other people see and hear. You may hallucinate or believe things that other people cannot see as truth. Although some people feel content with their psychosis, you may feel confused and scared. Medication is there to manage or reduce the symptoms, rather than cure. Not all medications work for everyone (read more here), and there are side effects. Regular contact with your psychiatrist will help you find the best medication for you.
Functional / Integrative Medicine
Functional medicine and integrative medicine are similar in that they both include a more thorough investigation and pull in more tools for healing than the general medicine provided via the NHS. Integrative medicine takes a holistic approach with the intention of understanding the whole person. It combines various therapies to heal the mind and body. A functional medicine doctor is a qualified medical doctor with an expansion to the service. They seek the root cause of the condition, with the viewpoint that each condition may have many causes, and one cause may create many conditions. A functional doctor is a qualified medical doctor with an evolved practise. They personalise the treatment down to the minutest details and incorporate many methods to heal the root cause of your symptoms.
Treatment for Mental Health
If you feel you need help treating mental health, but do not have a specific diagnosis, lifestyle changes may make a difference. There are five areas of life to consider. Do you have healthy habits with regards to sleep, nutrition, exercise, nature and time?
We all need sleep to detox the brain. From an evolutionary perspective, there is no way we would sleep if we didn’t really need to. You may have disrupted sleep due to unnatural lighting after sunset, from screens, indoor lighting, streetlights, and car lights. If you ignore your tired cues, your body will enter the stress response and prevent you sleeping. A drop in blood sugar overnight will make you hangry. Prioritise your sleep by giving yourself enough time between sunset and sunrise without artificial lighting, and go to bed when you first notice the tired cue.
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In an ideal world, we’d all fill our body with the nutrition it needs. Today, because of many diet plans and manufactured food stuffs, few of us fully understand what we need. We aim to fill the hole to stop hunger, rather than giving the body what it requires from a nutritional perspective, which prevents unnatural hunger. A nutritional therapist will guide you on the foods your body needs. Aim to nurture your body with these nutrients daily.
Humans did not evolve as sedentary beings. If you spend your day stationary, bring some organised exercise into your life to offset it. It is important to view exercise as a priority for mental wellbeing, rather than weight loss. Do something that you enjoy and fills you with energy, rather than something which is a chore and draining.
I regularly use the phrase; you are as natural as the trees outside your window. The further we step away from nature, the less we connect with ourselves. Taking time to immerse yourself in the natural world as regularly as possible will help you understand yourself and your purpose. There is a zen saying; you should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day…Unless you’re busy, then you should sit for an hour.
If you can’t sit in nature each day, try to take the time to sit somewhere, without distraction, and process your thoughts. You need to do this, if you don’t do it during the day, it’s likely to cause you problems elsewhere in life. Whether that be in sleep, your mental health or manifesting physically. Journalling is helpful, but other distractions, such as a screen, magazine or book, will prevent you from processing your thoughts.