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What is mental health treatment?

Mental health treatment is a complex, multi-step process that involves evaluating, diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.

Treatment typically involves a physical and psychological assessment covering your general health and medical history and often includes a thorough psychological evaluation.

Your doctor may ask you to fill in a mental health questionnaire and have blood tests to determine if an underlying physiological condition is present.

Mental illness is a complex disease. Therefore, it may take a while before you get the correct diagnosis.

After your initial assessment with a mental health professional, the next step is to develop a mental health treatment plan, including any required medication.

Your therapist will consider the most effective therapeutic approach suitable for your particular needs and mental health condition(s) and decide whether you require inpatient or outpatient support.

Here, you will learn more about some of the most commonly used mental health treatments available today.

If you are struggling with symptoms of a mental health condition, please get in touch with one of our specialists who can help.

What causes mental disorders?

Mental health disorders are complex and encompass a wide variety of conditions.

For instance, mental health conditions may present independently or co-occur with substance use disorder or a chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, etc.

Mental illnesses are generally linked to one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Your genes and family history
  • Stressful life conditions
  • Having a chronic disease
  • Traumatic life experiences
  • Brain trauma
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Lack of social support – you may feel lonely or isolated
  • Exposure to a virus or toxic chemicals in utero

What are the most common mental health disorders?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), three hundred different mental health conditions exist.

In case you’re wondering, the DSM-5 is a handbook used by health professionals to help identify and diagnose a wide range of mental health disorders.

Let us explain the most common mental health conditions in more detail.

Psychotic disorder

Someone with a psychotic disorder might be detached from reality. Common symptoms of this mental health condition include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Speech problems
  • Confused or jumbled thoughts.

This category of mental health disorders covers the following conditions:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Delusional disorder
  • Substance-induced psychotic disorder
  • Paraphrenia.

Personality disorder

People with personality disorders have lasting patterns of emotional instability and unhealthy behaviour that can make it challenging for them to maintain healthy relationships and may impair their daily functioning.

Psychologists have identified ten personality disorders marked by various symptoms, features and clusters.

For example, each personality disorder has its cluster, e.g., clusters A, B, and C.

Some of the most common personality disorders include:

Bipolar disorder

This class of mental health disorders includes conditions involving alternating mania episodes.

For example, a person with bipolar disorder may experience periods of excessive activity, energy and excitement, usually followed by depression.

Individuals with bipolar disorder experience alternating periods of mania – they may have episodes of heightened energy, excitement and activity followed by bouts of generalised depression.

Disruptive, impulsive-control and conduct disorder

These disorders include conditions that affect your emotions.

For instance, you may experience deep-seated sadness or profound joy; these constant mood changes may disrupt your relationships, work, and ability to function.

Disruptive, impulsive-control and conduct disorders include major depressive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Depressive disorder

Anxiety is a condition characterised by the anticipation of something uncertain, dangerous, or perhaps even life-threatening.

You may worry excessively about specific situations or events and find it hard to relax.

Depressive disorders include behaviour focused on avoidance. For instance, you may avoid places, people, objects or situations to avoid feeling anxious.

These classes of disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobias.

Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders involve preoccupations or obsessions marked by repetitive thoughts, behaviour and actions.

Examples of anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder and hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania).

Substance use disorder

Individuals with substance use disorder have an addiction to alcohol, drugs, caffeine or nicotine.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder has excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviours (compulsions).

Trauma-related disorder

Individuals with trauma-related disorders have difficulty coping with daily life following a traumatic event.

They may experience various unpleasant symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety or hypervigilance related to a traumatic experience.

Trauma-related disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder.

Dissociative disorder

Someone with a dissociative disorder may feel that their sense of self is disrupted somehow.

Many experts believe that ongoing trauma is the root cause of dissociation, whereby people develop dissociative disorders as a coping mechanism to help them through a traumatic event that might have otherwise been too disturbing or unbearable.

Dissociative disorders include dissociative identity disorder and dissociative amnesia.

Neurodevelopmental disorder

Neurodevelopmental disorders are usually diagnosed in infancy or early childhood before entering grade school.

These disorders cover autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disorders.

Eating or feeding disorder

Individuals with an eating disorder have an unhealthy relationship with food. As a result, they may binge eat, make themselves sick, and worry excessively about their body weight.

Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

Elimination disorder

Those who have an elimination disorder inappropriately eliminate urine or stools. They may engage in this behaviour intentionally or accidentally.

Elimination disorder covers enuresis, otherwise known as bed-wetting.

Sleep-wake disorder

Individuals with sleep-wake disorder have significant problems regulating their sleep-wake pattern.

A person’s condition may be so severe that they require medical treatment or hospitalisation.

Sleep-wake disorders cover conditions including insomnia, sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

Somatic disorder

Somatic disorders involve emotional and behavioural self-control issues, such as kleptomania or intermittent explosive disorder.

Individuals with a somatic disorder may experience physical symptoms that cause significant emotional distress making it difficult for them to cope with daily life.

Somatic disorders include somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder and factitious disorder.

Paraphilic disorder

People diagnosed with paraphilic disorder have an unhealthy interest in sex that causes emotional distress, risky behaviour or physical harm to another person.

Paraphilic disorders include sexual sadism disorder, voyeuristic disorder and pedophilic disorder.

Sexual dysfunction disorder

Individuals diagnosed with sexual dysfunction disorder may struggle with how they respond to sex.

Sexual dysfunction disorders include premature ejaculation and female orgasmic disorder.

Gender dysphoria

Individuals with gender dysphoria disorder have a deep-seated desire to be another gender.

Neurocognitive disorder

People with a neurocognitive disorder experience cognitive challenges that affect their perceptions and thinking.

These disorders include conditions such as delirium and neurocognitive disorder caused by traumatic brain injury or diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What are the common signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder?

Some symptoms of a mental illness are apparent, and some are difficult to identify.

Getting an accurate diagnosis can take time – but once you understand what type of mental health condition you have, you can begin planning treatment.

You must avoid self-diagnosing through Google or listening to family or friends who try to label you with a mental illness.

Only a qualified mental health professional can provide you with an accurate diagnosis.

Symptoms of mental illness can vary and may affect your mood, thinking and ability to interact with others.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Depending on the type of mental health condition you have, you may experience the following symptoms:

Clinical depression

If you are diagnosed with clinical depression, you may feel sad, withdrawn or disinterested in activities you previously enjoyed.

All this may lead to various physical and behavioural symptoms, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Low energy levels
  • Poor concentration
  • Low self-esteem
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

Anxiety disorder

If you have an anxiety disorder, you may experience anxiety or stress disproportionate to an event or situation.

For instance, you may worry or feel restless about a situation without evidence of danger or harm.

Bipolar disorder

Manic episodes involve periods of disproportionate energy, poor sleep patterns and disassociation.

Once the manic episode subsides, the individual may experience depressive episodes of intense sadness, low energy, lack of motivation and loss of interest in daily activities.

Bipolar episodes can last days or months and may accompany suicidal thoughts or attempts.


Schizophrenia involves having thoughts or feelings that are out of touch with reality.

A person’s symptoms may include the following:

  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Disorganised speech
  • Unpredictable behaviour
  • Lack of interest in daily activities.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

When a person is diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, they may experience unreasonable fears that cause them to engage in specific behaviours or habits to alleviate stress.

These behaviours may include arranging objects in a specific manner, turning the lights on and off several times or touching things more than once.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Traumatic events can bring on post-traumatic stress disorder – a person may experience symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, paranoia, uncontrollable thoughts and debilitating anxiety after a traumatic event.


As you age, increasing forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities may affect your daily function.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

If you have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – you may experience poor concentration, limited attention span and hyperactivity.


The range and severity of autism symptoms vary depending on where you are on the spectrum.

Common symptoms of autism include:

  • Difficulty communicating 
  • Trouble enjoying social interactions
  • Obsessive interests and repetitive behaviours.


The defining symptoms for each mental illness are detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Mental health professionals use this manual to diagnose mental health conditions (and insurance companies to reimburse for treatment).

What are the most common mental health treatments?

An integrated treatment program is the most effective approach to treating mental health disorders.

Depending on your condition, treatment may include the following:


Typically, there are four types of medication used to treat mental health disorders, they include:

  • Antidepressant medication
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Mood-stabilising medication

Depending on your mental health disorder and the severity of your condition, you may be prescribed one or more of these medications.


Psychotherapy is a term used to describe talking therapy. 

Treatment involves talking to a mental health professional about your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and anxieties.

Different therapists use various methods to help you express yourself, identify underlying issues that impact your mental health and give you tools to help manage symptoms and develop healthy coping skills.

Inpatient treatment

Sometimes the safest place for someone struggling with a mental illness is in a hospital or a residential treatment facility like Centres for Health and Healing.

There is the option of outpatient treatment; however, sometimes, a hospital or residential treatment facility is the best place for someone with a mental health disorder, especially if their condition is severe. 

Inpatient treatment tends to be more effective than outpatient treatment because the former is more focused and intensive.

Herbal medicine, home remedies and lifestyle treatments

You can use alternative therapies to help relieve withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety or depression. 

Herbal tonics and lifestyle changes won’t “cure” you, but they may work effectively as part of a holistic treatment plan.

Holistic treatment includes:

  • Abstaining from alcohol and drugs.
  • Practising mindfulness, meditation or yoga.
  • Exercising.
  • Adopting a healthy eating plan incorporating healthy food and drinks that benefit your brain.

What is dual diagnosis treatment?

Dual diagnosis is when a person is diagnosed with a mental illness and substance use disorder.

For instance, an individual may have depression and alcohol use disorder simultaneously.

Dual diagnosis is also known as comorbidity or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder.

An individual with a dual diagnosis has one or more mental health disorders.

These conditions may include the following:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • An active addiction such as alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex addiction

Treatment for dual diagnosis requires an integrated approach that deals with both conditions simultaneously. 

In addition, there are common dual-diagnosis symptoms that can overlap, including depression and anxiety.

Mental health treatment at Centres for Health and Healing

Centres for Health and Healing offer an addiction therapy and rehab program that is unique and personalised to suit each individual’s needs. 

Dual diagnosis treatments form part of our holistic approach; they cover all the bases of an individualised addiction treatment program.

We believe good mental health is one of the keys to recovering from addiction.

Therefore, our personalised, tailored treatment programs provide one of the only non-12-Step approaches, focusing on each individual’s mental health needs. 

With our strategic approach, mixed therapeutic methods, and staff with decades of knowledge and experience, Centres for Health and Healing provides the setting, resources, and tools necessary for deep transformational healing and complete recovery.

We are proud of the high success rate of our addiction therapy and rehab programs at Centres for Health and Healing, and we are more than happy to provide any further information you may need.

The first step to a fulfilling, healthy and happy life is admitting that you may have a problem and seeking professional help.

If you or a loved one live with a mental health disorder or dual diagnosis, please get in touch with us to discuss treatment options.

We’re here and ready to help.

Contact us today if you would like a confidential, free chat with one of our highly-trained addiction professionals at Centres for Health & Healing in Ontario, Canada.

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