In this blog post, we shall answer the question “can I get better from mental illness?” we shall define what mental illness is and what you should know if you have a mental illness. We shall then discuss the tips to improve and recover from mental illness.
Can I get better from mental illness?
Yes, it is possible to recover from mental health problems. The symptoms might come back from time to time, but as long as you are aware of your symptoms and have positive coping mechanisms to employ, you can be confident in managing them.
Is there a cure for mental illnesses?
No, mental illnesses are not curable, but they can be treated. There is a difference between cure and treat.
Cured; when an illness is cured, it means it is gone forever. Examples of curable diseases are tuberculosis, pneumonia, and bacterial infections.
Treated; when a disease is treated, it means they will have the disease for the rest of their life but regular medication and lifestyle changes can suppress the symptoms and make a person live long healthy lives. Terminal illnesses are classified under treatable diseases and they include diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, viral infections, mental illnesses, etc.
The best treatment for terminal illnesses is knowing more about the condition and finding a combination of effective treatments that will work for you. Mental illnesses have multiple treatment options, like medication, psychotherapy, support groups and many self-help tips that can help you manage the condition.
Does mental illness go away on its own?
Some people get episodes once in a while, for others, the symptoms might feel constant. It is
difficult to tell how long the illness and episodes will last. Some people have been able to manage their symptoms by themselves, while others have severe episodes that require more comprehensive treatment.
Before looking at the things you can do to improve your mental health, let us look at other resources and other treatment hospitals
Treatment options for mental illnesses
Most mental illnesses can be treated by the use of medication. The medication helps to suppress the symptoms that come with the illness, i.e delusions, hallucinations, confusion, disorganized thinking, low moods, mania, etc. These symptoms can cause dysfunctions and the inability to carry out normal daily activities with ease.
It is therefore important to visit your nearest psychiatrist or hospital and you will be prescribed medication that will help manage the condition. Some people require lifelong management of the illness by the use of medication. These medications are reviewed regularly by the doctor and dosage management depends on the progress of the individual.
It is very important to follow through with your dose failure, to which relapse is inevitable. Some people who have been able to follow their dosage religiously have been able to live without the medication and only visit the hospital when they feel unwell.
Book psychotherapy sessions to help in the illness’s management. A therapist will help you identify the symptoms of your illness and the effects those symptoms are causing on your life and other people’s lives. You will also identify coping positive mechanisms in managing the illness as well as self-care tips.
Psychotherapy will also help in knowing more about the illness, which will then help you identify the triggers and warning signs of the illness. A therapist also conducts family therapies to help the whole family understand the illness and find ways to help the member with the illness.
Being in a place where others are also going through the same makes you feel understood and less isolated. There are many online or physical support groups created to bring together people with various mental conditions where they can address and give each encouraging words in their journeys of recovery.
Support groups are also coping mechanisms and are excellent forums for follow-up and encouraging those that have relapsed.
Sometimes, it is not possible to contain the symptoms at home especially when the individual is a danger to themselves or other people. Other reasons that warrant hospitalization include;
- To monitor the progress and medication
- To get quick, comprehensive care
- To take a break and escape for a few days
- To set up aftercare, i.e., medication refills, referrals to a therapist or pharmacist and make follow-up appointments
Sometimes, other people may take you to the hospital involuntarily if you present clear and present symptoms that pose a danger to yourself or others. We will discuss aftercare later where it is important to identify the hospital you would want to be taken to if you are not in a position to do so yourself and who to take you to the hospital.
Putting together a treatment plan
This is simply trying different treatment plans and finding the best that works for you. The best treatment options are those that you will stick to, ones that you believe in and those that complement each other.
Ask for help from other people when developing a treatment plan. They might give you tips and new information that you did not have, and provide accountability and support. Work also with a professional team that will listen to you and take your concerns seriously. Your treatment plan should follow a simple format;
- Patient’s personal information, demographics, and psychological history
- A diagnosis of the current mental condition
- Treatment goals
- Measurable objectives
- A timeline for treatment progress
- Space for tracking progress
You can read this treatment plan for more information on how to create a good treatment plan.
Things you can do to improve your mental health
Start your day with a cup of coffee
Coffee is linked with lowering the symptoms of depression. If you cannot take coffee, then take green tea or another good-for-you drink.
Include things you are grateful for and three things you were able to achieve every day. This will help you focus on the positive things in life.
Work your strengths
Strive to achieve at least one rigorous task every day to boost your self-confidence
Take a vacation
A getaway for a few days will help you to relax. Planning for a vacation will give you something good to look forward to. Tag along with your family or friends.
This will help you reduce mental burdens and thoughts that trigger a relapse
Prep for your lunches and pick your clothes for the workweek
This will help you feel more in control of your life and will help you save time in the mornings.
Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet
They are linked to a decrease in depressive and schizophrenic symptoms and also improve memory and build healthy gut bacteria.
Try looking for something good in every negative situation
Find a silver lining in every cloud. Every challenge presents equal opportunities for learning and growth.
It might not be easy to do, but it helps slow your heart rate and make you relax
Send thank-you notes
Expression of gratitude to others boosts mood and helps others feel appreciated
Do something with friends and family
People tend to be happier when they spend time with family and friends. Plan for cook-outs, game nights and picnics with your family and friends.
Take a walk in nature
Being in nature helps you to relax, reduces depressive symptoms and also boosts one’s mood
Spend 15 minutes of sunshine every day
Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, which has been linked to improving our mood.
Avoid drugs and other substances
Drugs worsen the symptoms of mental illness and ruin our mental and physical health. They also aggravate problems between an individual and their significant others.
Get help when you need it
Do not be afraid to reach out when you feel stuck and need help with a task. It is normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes.
Quiet your mind
Practice meditation and other self-relaxation methods to help you relax and improve your state of mind. It also enhances the effects of therapy.
Talk to other people facing the same challenge and volunteer in organizations that advocate for mental health. You will feel good being of help to someone else, and it is also great for socializing.
Avoid self-criticism, treat yourself with love and kindness, and take time and engage in your hobbies and activities that make you happy.
Take time off social media and reconnect with a friend or family member face-to-face
Take a trip down memory lane
Take twenty minutes and spend them colouring something that comes to your mind. Remind yourself of how far you have come and the good things that have happened to you
Do chores in the house with some music on and dance as you do personal cleaning. This will boost the production of feel-good hormones that will boost your mood and increase energy levels.
It doesn’t have to be laborious exercises. Take 30 minutes each day and do light exercises that are comfortable for you or go for a walk.
A good night’s sleep goes a long way in helping your body and brain to relax. Make sure your sleeping conditions are favourable.
Have healthy balanced meals and drink plenty of water. This will help boost your immune system and keep lifestyle diseases away. Food also boosts good moods.
Set realistic goals
Sets realistic achievable goals that will not overwhelm you. Write down the steps you want to take to realize your goals and work every day towards realizing them.
Break the monotony
A routine helps us to stay focused, but you can change restaurants, run in a different park, hang up some wall paintings in your house or try a new hobby.
We have discussed what mental illness is and if it can be cured. We have also looked at the treatment options available in managing mental illnesses and how to create a treatment plan. Finally, we have looked at the tips we can use to improve our mental health.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.
Frequently asked questions: want to get better
How can I get better from mental illness?
Pay attention to your body and mind, remind yourself that you are not alone, go to therapy and take your medication as prescribed.
Can you heal yourself from mental illness?
No, mental illness is not curable. However, there are a lot of effective treatments that can help people living with mental illnesses recover, manage the symptoms and live long healthy lives
What does mental wellness look like?
The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal life stressors, can work productively and fruitfully and can contribute to his or her community.
Mental Health America, 31 tips to boost your mental health. Retrieved from https://www.mhanational.org/31-tips-boost-your-mental-health
Mental Health America, is mental health curable? Retrieved from https://screening.mhanational.org/content/mental-illness-curable/?layout=actions_ah_articles,actions_ah_test
Mental Health America, does mental illness go away on its own? Retrieved from https://screening.mhanational.org/content/does-mental-illness-go-away-its-own/?layout=actions_ah_articles,actions_ah_test&pathway=16356
Boyles O. (August 24, 2018). Guide to creating mental health treatment plans. Retrieved from https://www.icanotes.com/2018/08/24/guide-to-creating-mental-health-treatment-plans/