Defining Mental Health Disorders

Defining Mental Health DisordersIt can seem frightening when you first suspect that you or someone you care about has a mental disorder. After all, there is still a lingering stigma around mental illness and addiction. However, having a better understanding of mental health disorders can help California residents make empowered decisions about their healthcare and choose recovery options that work to meet their unique needs.

What California Residents Should Know about Mental Illness

The key to defining a mental disease is to really examine the word “disease.” A disease, in essence, is a “dis-ease” of the body or mind. The difference between a quirky personality and a true mental illness occurs when that mental condition leads to discomfort, problems, dangerous situations, relationship problems or other things that disrupt comfortable living.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness ( defines mental illness as a medical condition that disrupts feelings (moods), thinking and ability to cope with everyday life. Most mental illnesses are directly tied to brain structure, brain chemistry, or traumatic experiences (which can also change brain chemistry). Common mental illnesses that California residents may suffer from include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Personality disorders
  • Attention deficit disorders (ADD and ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Addiction and Substance abuse disorders

The good news is that there is hope. Most mental disorders now have highly effective, modern treatments. Medications and evidence-based counseling practices continue to make great leaps in effectiveness every year. So even if you have tried mental health treatments in the past, you may be surprised to see how many new treatments have come out in recent years.

Mental Disorder Treatment for California Residents

The very best way to treat a mental illness or mental health disorder is through a licensed, experienced treatment provider. With a licensed counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, you can get an accurate diagnosis that will help your treatment provider create an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs.

Self-Medicating Mental Health Disorders

Some California residents may attempt to self-medicate mental health disorders. Most people are not aware that they are self-medicating, even when the evidence is so clear that loved ones begin to notice. Self-medication can take many forms, including:

  • Drug and alcohol use or addiction, including the use of prescription drugs intended for other people
  • Over-exercising or under-exercising
  • Overeating or strictly controlling food intake
  • Creating rigid life roles or expectations
  • Avoiding stressful situations, even to the point of missing out on enjoyable activities
  • Compulsive shopping, gambling, sexual activity or other addictive behaviors
  • Love addiction or relationship addiction

There are literally millions of ways people attempt to self-medicate underlying issues. That is why it is important to seek out an integrated treatment program if you or someone you love is self-medicating a mental health disorder.

Integrated Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

Integrated treatment is a special type of treatment that takes a “whole-person” approach. Integrated treatment works to heal both a mental illness and all of the forms of self-medication a person may have been using. Integrated treatment looks at a person’s physical health, mental health and any addiction problems all at once, allowing for a full treatment that gets to the heart of the matter.

To learn more about integrated treatment for mental health disorders and addiction, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today.

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