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What are the Treatments for Mental Disorders?

Updated at: Jan 18, 2013
Mental Health
Written by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Jan 18, 2013
What are the Treatments for Mental Disorders?

Mental Disorders- Drug therapy, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy and self help are some of the treatment options for mental disorders.

What are the Treatments for Mental Disorders

Treatment of mental disorders has improved significantly over the past few decades. The insight and understanding of mental health disorders has helped in advances of treatment. Now-a-days many mental health disorders can be treated successfully. Read to know more on mental disorder treatment.


Treatment Modalities



There are many treatment modalities for mental disorders and most treatment methods can be grouped as either somatic or psychotherapeutic. Drug therapy and electroconvulsive therapy are somatic forms of treatment and psychotherapeutic treatments for mental disorders include:


  • Individual, group, family and/or marital psychotherapy.
  • Behaviour therapy techniques (such as relaxation training or exposure therapy).
  • Hypnotherapy.


Most people with any major mental health disorders are treated with both drugs and psychotherapy as this has shown to be more effective than either treatment method used alone. But it should be appreciated that what works for one person may not work for another person with the same type of mental disorder. Besides this, self-help is also important in some types of mental disorders.


Self Help



Many people suffering from mental health problems can feel better with alterations in lifestyle such as a better diet, lower alcohol and illegal drug consumption, exercise and adequate sleep. These are especially useful for some people with depression, anxiety and drug abuse.


Drug Therapy



Presently several different types of psychoactive drugs are available which are highly effective and widely used by psychiatrists for the treatment of various mental disorders. Most of the drugs are categorised according to the disorder for which they are primarily prescribed. For example, antidepressants are used to treat depression and anti-psychotics are used for treating psychosis. Your doctor will prescribe medications based on your signs and symptoms.


Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)



In movies, ECT is depicted as the most terrible way of treating mental disorders. But actually it is a safe and effective therapy for certain mental disorders (especially severe depression) and rarely causes any complications. Therapy electrodes are attached to the patient’s head, s/he is sedated, and a series of electrical shocks are delivered to the brain to induce a brief seizure. Other ways of brain stimulation, include repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and vagal nerve stimulation. These methods of treatment are under study and may be helpful for severe depression unresponsive to drugs or psychotherapy.





Significant advances have been made in psychotherapy for the treatment of mental disorders. Psychotherapy, (or talk therapy) is based on the principle that the cure for a person's mental disorder lies within him and that cure can be facilitated through a trusting, supportive relationship with a psychotherapist. The therapist helps the patient to recognise the cause of the problems and suggests alternatives for dealing with them. Awareness about the underlying problem and insight achieved through psychotherapy can result in a change in attitude and behaviour of the patient which helps in improving the mental disorder.


Read more articles on Mental Disorders




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