Mental health is a state of emotional, behavioral, cognitive, psychological, and social wellbeing. It impacts your thought process, actions, productivity, learning, and relationships and supports your capacity to harness your innate abilities for the better.
Unfortunately, the US is experiencing a mental health epidemic, with government statistics showing that one in five US adults has a mental health problem. While mental health treatment options exist, treatment is a multidisciplinary pursuit requiring cooperation from various health sector stakeholders.
Second, cookie-cutter approaches to treatment do not apply as patients and cases differ significantly. Nonetheless, below are five mental health treatment options worth exploring.
Psychedelics or serotonergic hallucinogens are compounds or drugs that trigger an altered or heightened sense of consciousness, perception, and cognition. Plant-based psychedelics have existed for millennia among various civilizations, including Amazonian cultures.
While psychedelics are as old as time, psychedelic and consciousness research is an emerging field supporting drug discovery and development. Consequently, the landscape for psychedelics in Canada is changing to accommodate this emerging field. You can also get Magic Mushrooms Online.
The primary active ingredients in psychedelic plants, like psilocybin and psilocin in psychedelic mushrooms, were Federally illegal in Canada for the longest time. However, one report shows that Health Canada, the Canadian government’s health agency, allowed restricted use of the above compounds to tackle end-of-life anxiety among palliative care patients. Moreover, the agency later allowed select mental health experts to treat depression using psilocybin among a handful of patients.
While psychedelic compounds’ precise mechanism of action to trigger an altered headspace remains unknown, preliminary research confirms their capacity to permeate the brain and central nervous system. The psychedelic experience creates room for suggestibility and guided therapy. Therefore, lifting the ban on psychedelic use helped advance prior research on psychedelic compounds as a potential mental health therapy.
For instance, one follow-up study on psychedelic therapy with psilocybin showed that the compound relieved major depressive symptoms among patients. Moreover, its effects lasted up to a year among some patients.
Besides Health Canada, the European Medicines Agency and the Federal Drug Agency (FDA) are championing psychedelic research for mental health treatment. The two agencies run drug trials with different psychedelic compounds to generate treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, you can consult your mental health specialist on psychedelic therapy as a viable treatment for your or a family member’s mental health condition.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is a psychological or medication-free treatment route whereby a mental health patient talks to an expert like a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. Although psychotherapy is a bona fide treatment option, it is also helpful for individuals not diagnosed with mental health but experiencing emotional trauma, conflict, or life-altering situations.
According to one expert review, talk therapy is ideal for treating anxiety, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders. Different psychotherapy approaches exist; below is a highlight of different approaches.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
One research report defines CBT as the gold standard for psychotherapy due to the overwhelming evidence supporting its efficacy. CBT is a psychotherapy approach that entails identifying thoughts and behaviors that feed negative patterns and using various techniques to replace such negative behaviors with constructive ones. It is a short-term approach for treating various mental health problems.
Group therapy is a psychotherapy approach whereby at least one certified mental health expert moderates a group of 5-15 patients with related symptoms. Its advantages include universality, knowledge sharing, and motivation among group members.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a form of CBT channeled towards helping patients cultivate acceptance using strategies like mindfulness. Although initially used to treat borderline personality disorder symptoms, DBT currently cuts across multiple mental health disorders.
According to one research study, psychotherapy is effective in 75% of mental health cases. Moreover, the list of talk therapy approaches above is non-exhaustive, so consider researching more options.
Psychiatric medications include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, and antipsychotics. Such drugs are prescription medications and do not cure mental disorders but help patients manage symptoms. Moreover, they are most effective when used concurrently with psychotherapy.
Qualified general practitioners and psychiatrists are the primary healthcare workers authorized to prescribe psychiatric drugs. The prescribed dosages are individual-specific, and it may take several adjustments to realize the most effective dose. Moreover, patients receiving such prescriptions should disclose their drug history, allergies, and lifestyle indulgences to avoid possible drug interactions.
Support Groups And 12-Step Programs
Support groups are fora that offer emotional support in a safe space governed by confidentiality. While support groups appear similar to group therapy, they are coping tools while group therapy steers behavioral change. Second, support groups feature a central theme that all members relate to and are less structured than group therapy.
The best example of a support group is the ground-breaking 12-step program for treating alcohol and drug dependency. However, similar programs exist for individuals with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders and those not diagnosed with mental health disorders but struggling to cope with life’s eventualities.
One qualitative study on support groups shows their effectiveness in overcoming isolation and improving patient condition perception.
Complementary And Alternative Medications/ Therapy
Complementary and alternative medications (CAM) therapies are non-conventional remedies for managing various mental health conditions. According to one Swedish survey, 62% of respondents in health care facilities reported using CAM for anxiety and depression.
CAM therapies include body-based therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, and aromatherapy. Also, meditation-based therapies like mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy qualify as CAM. Other CAM therapies include yoga, exercise, and botanical remedy consumption.
Multiple methods for relieving various mental health disorder symptoms exist. Therefore, consider research available treatment options and discuss the best alternative for you or a loved one with a certified doctor.