For a person with mental illness, it can seem like there is no light in the future. Simply existing and completing daily tasks is difficult. You wonder what it will take for life to be what you think is “normal” for others. And you ask yourself, “Is mental illness curable?”
Knowing the answer to this question can help or equip you to help a loved one in need.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness represents a spectrum of conditions that impact your mental health. Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects your entire life, including how you think, feels, and act. It can determine how you respond to stress, participate in and seek out relationships, and make decisions. Biology, life experiences, and family history can play a part in your mental health. A mental illness can develop over time, or a stressful event can trigger it.
When your mental health isn’t optimal, you struggle to enjoy life and all it has to offer. In the U.S., nearly one in five adults experience some form of mental illness throughout their lives. One-in-24 people experience a severe form of mental illness that keeps them from functioning.
Is Mental Illness Curable?
When you ask, “Is mental illness curable?” it’s like asking, “Can mental illness end forever?” Like Type 1 Diabetes or some other health issues, there is no cure for mental illness. But there are effective treatments that help you get the issue under control. These treatments begin with determining the cause of the mental illness. You then work to treat that cause and manage the symptoms of the disease itself.
While they may not be “cured,” people with mental health conditions can recover. Recovery means experiencing relief from their symptoms. With proper treatment and support, people with mental illness can live happy, satisfying lives.
How Can Treatment Lead to Recovery?
Recovery is a process, beginning with diagnosis and moving into managing a mental health condition. Long-term recovery involves integrating treatment techniques into your everyday life.
Treatment helps people with mental illness through:
- Lifestyle Changes. Habits can impact your mental health. You may underestimate how eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep can help you feel better. Therapists can help you evaluate your current habits and identify ways to tweak your lifestyle. These changes can help you decrease stress and start enjoying activities again.
- Gaining Coping Tools. Treatment can help you identify why you might use destructive behaviors to cope with past trauma. Healthy coping strategies offer concrete ways to help you adapt to your environment and master challenges. They allow you to connect with the world around you. Some healthy ways to cope range from developing a habit of mindfulness to journaling your thoughts.
- Increase Confidence. The stigma around mental illness doesn’t help those with mental health concerns. People who lack self-confidence may struggle with assertiveness, communication skills, or social anxiety. These concerns can create problems in your career, relationships, and state of mind. Therapy can help you develop greater self-confidence and increase your mental and emotional well-being.
- Support Network. Dealing with mental illness is complex, and the stigma and shame around it exacerbate this complexity. Therapists can bring your friends and family into your treatment so you don’t feel isolated.
Mental Illness Treatment at ILC
It can be overwhelming to differentiate one treatment program from another. If you’re looking for a resolution to the question of whether mental illness is curable, Integrative Life Center can help. We want you to feel as educated and confident as possible as you take your first steps toward recovery.
ILC treatment options include:
- Residential Treatment. Residential treatment for mental health or substance use disorder involves living at an addiction treatment center like ILC. These programs provide a supervised, structured environment to help you maintain your sobriety as you work toward recovery. At residential programs, you can create a support system of therapists and peers. We equip you with the tools to overcome substance use disorders and mental health challenges. Residential treatment is especially beneficial for people who didn’t have success with outpatient therapy. ILC offers gender-specific treatment options at two different residential locations, Morningstar Women’s Residential campus and Morningstar Men’s Residential lodge, to avoid distractions and tensions that can occur in co-ed groups.
- Art Therapy. Art therapy is experiential therapy, meaning you are active in creating art and dynamic in expression. With the support of an art therapist, you can increase self-awareness, identify strengths, improve self-esteem, express emotions, reduce anxiety and stress, cope with trauma, manage addiction, resolve emotional conflicts, and enhance social skills. Art therapy is excellent for various mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
- Music Therapy. Music therapists use the connection between music and the brain to support treatment through intrinsic motivation. They focus on empowerment, improved self-confidence, and deepened emotional insights. This therapy may look like learning to play an instrument, listening to music, or expressing thoughts and feelings through writing lyrics. Doing so can help improve your focus and is an excellent way to learn a new hobby or develop a new passion. Specific goals within music therapy could include enhancing relationships, supporting healthy coping skills, facilitating greater self-awareness, increasing emotional expression, and improving social cohesion. Music therapy is excellent for a variety of mental health conditions.
- Equine Therapy. Equine-assisted therapy is an experiential therapy that involves an equine therapist walking you through activities and interactions with horses. In equine therapy, you interact with horses as a way of making connections. You may provide care by grooming or feeding a horse. You also may learn how to harness or lead a horse around a small area. By making a personal connection with a nonjudgmental animal, you gain empathy and independence while increasing your impulse control. Therapists observe and interact with you to identify maladaptive behavior patterns and help you process thoughts and emotions. You also may increase your threshold for stress. Equine therapy is excellent for addictions, anxiety, behavioral problems, depression, and eating disorders.
- Adventure Therapy. Adventure therapy embraces the natural environment to help people improve their mental health. It allows you to learn to cope with and overcome cognitive, behavioral, social, and affective disorders. Participating in a ropes course is fun, and it involves goal-setting, decision-making, and accountability. Adventure therapy helps you achieve goals that enhance and encourage positive behaviors. This therapy is excellent for various mental health conditions, including substance use disorder and clinical depression.
- Meditation and Breathwork. Meditation is a type of holistic therapy that helps you relax and quiet your mind. During meditation, your brain’s prefrontal cortex activates. This brain space is where feel-good chemicals originate. Instead of reacting to difficult situations, meditation helps you observe your emotions. You notice versus respond to thoughts and feelings as they enter your mind. When you remove judgment or attachment to these thoughts or feelings, they cause less stress. Meditation is a powerful tool to help you cope with triggering experiences when you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sleep disorders, addictions, and eating disorders.
Getting Help for Mental Illness
While there is no cure for mental illness, there are productive ways of living with it. The techniques learned in therapy can help you get back to enjoying life. Recovery is a process, and long-term recovery takes sustained dedication to treatment and a close support network.
Are you ready to take the first step on your road to recovery? Contact ILC today if you or your loved one needs treatment for mental illness.