Mental illness affects as many as one out of every five adults, and it affects people of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. When a person is mentally ill, symptoms can affect their thoughts, moods and behaviors, and when these symptoms impact their ability to function in their day-to-day lives, obtaining effective treatment is extremely important.
Most forms of mental illness are treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. An individual who is diagnosed with mental illness must work with their doctor or team of mental health professionals to find the form of treatment or combination of treatments that is most effective for them. For many people with mental illness, evidence-based treatments are the best options.
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What is Evidence-Based Treatment?
Evidence-based treatments, also known as evidence-based practices, are treatments that have been researched scientifically or academically and proven to be helpful in more than one study. Medically researched evidence is combined with the professional experience of the mental health team, resulting in treatment methods that can be very successful in treating mental illness.
Mental illness is often misunderstood and, at one time, symptoms of mental disorders were treated using methods that were potentially harmful or poorly studied. Evidence-based treatment isn’t based on trial and error but rather on methods that have been proven to achieve results in treating mental health disorders.
Types of Evidence-Based Treatment Used in Mental Health
There are several types of evidence-based practices that are effective in treating mental health challenges. Some examples of these treatments include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT is a goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that can help you discover the relationship between negative thoughts, feelings, and self-destructive behaviors. Working to change patterns of thinking can lead to changes in feelings and behavior. This form of therapy has been proven to be useful in treating many mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, mood disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorder, and thought disorders.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – DBT was originally developed to treat people who were chronically suicidal. It’s similar to CBT in many ways but also emphasizes accepting troubling thoughts, feelings and behaviors instead of struggling with them. It’s been found to be very effective in treating borderline personality disorder, and to produce significant improvement in people with other forms of mental illness such as depression, binge-eating disorder, bulimia, bipolar disorder and other mental health challenges.
- Exposure therapy – This form of CBT is often used to treat phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can help a person learn new ways of coping with situations that trigger fear or anxiety.
Traditional forms of therapy typically rely on the relationship between the therapist and the patient rather than on methods that have been scientifically proven to work. Traditional therapies often include focusing on the past and on unconscious processes that developed over the course of many years in order to gain insight. By contrast, evidence-based treatment methods aim to focus on the present and finding ways to help individuals become more functional and self-reliant in the present, and to achieve results and improvement as soon as possible.
The Best Treatment for Mental Illness
Evidence-based treatments continue to be researched and improved. There are many forms of mental illness, and many different approaches to reducing symptoms and increasing the ability to lead a functional life. Using evidence-based methods frequently leads to symptom improvement in much fewer sessions than traditional methods.
Your mental health treatment plan is likely to include a combination of treatment methods such as medications, counseling and support groups. It’s important to clearly communicate with your treatment team about how well the current approach is working or not working. When your treatment plan includes evidence-based practices, you have a very good chance of achieving overall recovery and wellness.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health disorder, please call us at (310) 455-5258 or submit the form below to learn more about our treatment programs in Los Angeles.