Mental illnesses cause a change in behavior, moods, and thinking, which completely impairs normal mental and social functioning of an individual. Traditionally, people with mental disorders were segregated from society and put in asylums across the country (Thornicroft & Tansella, 2002). They were considered dangerous to the rest of the community. Medical specialists took care of mentally disabled individuals who could not make their own decisions. There were no proper cures for mental illnesses; however, today the situation has changed as people have developed various methods of treating mental disorders. This research paper will discuss various therapies and medications used for the treatment of a psychiatric patient.


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Therapies for Treating Psychiatric Disorders


This is the commonly used therapy for treating mental disorders. This treatment is usually given by a trained mental health professional. Psychotherapy examines and concentrates on emotions, thoughts, and behavior so as to improve individual well-being.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

This therapy helps an individual to concentrate on his/her current problems and teaches him/her how to tackle them. There are different types of cognitive behavior therapy such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family-focused therapy (FFT), and interpersonal therapy (IPT).

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT was initially used to treat people who had suicidal thoughts, but now it is also used to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). During therapy sessions, the therapist assures the patient that his/her behavior and feelings are understandable. The therapist also tries to make the patient understand that it his/her personal responsibility to change unwanted behavior. DBT helps the ill person to change unhealthy behavior and teaches him/her how to deal with similar situations in the future. Research shows that DBT has decreased suicide attempts of patients suffering from BPD by half (Linehan et al., 2006).

Family-Focused Therapy

The patient's family plays a very important role in managing mental illnesses. During this therapy, family members are also involved in therapy sessions so as to strengthen family relationships that may help to improve treatment outcomes. Specialists try to identify difficulties and conflicts between family members that may worsen the patient's illness. They help family members to find ways to resolve these conflicts and difficulties. Family members are also educated about their loved one's mental illness, its nature, symptoms, and how to help him/her to manage his/her disorder more effectively (Rea et al., 2003). Family members are also taught how to talk to the patient without annoying him/her. Family-focused therapy helps the patient to prevent relapses. Family members are also taught how to manage stress that may appear while taking care of an ill individual (Miklowitz et al., 2003).

Interpersonal Therapy

This therapy is used on a one-on-one basis to treat depression. Its main idea is that improving the way people communicate and relate to one another may facilitate the treatment of depression. The therapy helps to identify how an individual interacts with other people; if his/her behavior causes problems, he/she is guided on how to change it. The therapist helps the patient to identify distressing emotions and what causes them. He/she also helps the patient to express appropriate emotions in a healthy way. Interpersonal therapy differs depending on the needs of the patient and the relationship between the specialist and patient. It has been proved that this therapy is helpful in treating depression (De Mello, de Jesus, Bacaltchuk, Verdeli, & Neugebauer, 2005)


Though psychiatric medications help to improve symptoms, they do not cure mental illnesses. However, they play an important role in making therapies more effective. The type of medication depends on the disorder and how the body of the patient responds to a medication. Psychiatric medications are divided into four classes.

Anti-anxiety medications. These drugs are used to treat anxiety or panic disorders. They can also be taken to reduce sleeplessness and agitation. Anti-anxiety medications should be used short term since they can cause dependency.

Mood-stabilizing medications. These are drugs which are mostly used to treat bipolar disorders. Together with antidepressants, they are used to treat depression.

Antidepressants. They are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. These drugs help to improve symptoms such as hopelessness, lack of interest in activities that previously made a person happy, sadness, and poor concentration (Schatzberg, 2000).

Antipsychotic medications. They are mostly used to treat schizophrenia. Bipolar disorders and depression are also treated with these medications (Stahl, 2008).


Mental illnesses sometimes can become severe, and the only option left is to take a patient to a psychiatric hospital. Hospitalization is necessary when a patient cannot take care of himself/herself or even may do harm to himself/herself or other people. Among the available options are partial or day hospitalization, twenty-four-hour inpatient care, and outpatient treatment.

Brain Stimulation Treatment

Brain stimulation treatment is mostly used for depression and other mental disorders. It is given when psychotherapy and medications fail to work. It includes deep brain stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation.


Mental disorders can be controlled with the help of different therapies and medications. A patient who has a mental illness can undergo psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy which is divided into dialectical behavior therapy, family-focused therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Mental illnesses can also be treated with anti-anxiety medications, mood-stabilizing medications, antidepressants, and antipsychotic medications. Hospitalization and brain stimulation treatment are also sometimes used to manage mental illnesses.

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