For most people, some combination of lifestyle changes, therapy, medication, and support is helpful for treating mental illness. Some of these are more effective than others for certain conditions and certain people. It may take some time to discover what works for you, but it is worth it.
Many habits can impact your mental health. Sleeping well, eating nutritious foods, and getting some physical activity in can help a lot. Some people benefit from reducing or eliminating the use of caffeine, alcohol, or drugs. Meditation, yoga, and spiritual practices can be helpful as well. Pay attention to simple things, like taking time for self-care, trying activities you enjoy, and spending time with people or environments where you feel supported.
Therapy can be a great way to change behaviors, gain confidence, learn new skills, and talk with someone openly and honestly. There are many different types of therapy. Most therapists use multiple techniques, depending on the needs of the person they’re working with. The most common type of therapy currently is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In CBT, a therapist helps you examine your thoughts and beliefs and how these influence your behavior.
Another option is to take medications. There are many different mental health medications, to help with a variety of symptoms. Medications affect everyone differently, so not every medication will work well for you, and many of them will have side effects. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find a medication that works for you. It’s also common to take multiple medications, to target different symptoms or to counteract side effects.
It’s important to find support from others. This can come through family, friends, professionals, or support groups. Support groups are made up of individuals with similar experiences, who meet regularly to discuss their experiences. Talking to people who are going through the same things can make you feel less alone and more connected. It also creates a space where people can share what has worked for them and talk through their struggles with people who understand.