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Treatment of Psychological Disorders

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Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders can significantly impact a person's life. The onset of psychological disorders is often unpredictable. A person can develop a psychological disorder for various reasons, including genetics, traumatic experiences, or other external influences. After the onset of a psychological disorder, most individuals have trouble coping and need to seek treatment. This article will explore some treatment options that can help manage serious psychological disorders.

  • In this article, we will first briefly explore the history of the treatment of psychological disorders.
  • Then, we'll discuss biomedical therapy in treating psychological disorders.
  • As we move along, we'll explain Freud's approach to treating disorders.
  • After this, we will take a moment to discuss the cognitive approach to the treatment of psychological disorders.
  • We'll conclude by detailing psychological treatments for mental illness.

History of Psychological Disorders Treatment

The study and understanding of psychological disorders have come a long way, and so has the treatment. When physicians first began finding treatments for psychological disorders, they often used a technique dating back to the ancient Greeks called bloodletting. The belief was that certain ailments could be treated by draining the body's fluids.

The history of the treatment of psychological disorders is a dark one. Many people with mental illnesses were treated inhumanely and were often accused of having a demonic possession.

For example, in the Middle Ages, women with psychological disorders were accused of being witches. Instead of being treated, many were killed.

Treatment of Psychological Disorders, dirty abandoned asylum hospital, StudySmarterAbandoned asylum, Freepik.com

In response to the horrible treatment people with mental disorders had to endure, churches started something called an asylum. Originally, asylums were meant to be a safe haven for people with psychological disorders. But over time, they became overcrowded, and rather than focusing on the treatment of psychological disorders, they became more like a place to send some of the most dangerous criminals.

One of the pioneers in the humane and moral treatment of people with psychological disorders was Dorthea Dix. Dix was a school teacher committed to a life-long humanitarian effort to ensure people with mental illness are treated with kindness and respect. As the field of psychology grew, more information about psychological disorders aided in creating treatments for psychological disorders.

Biomedical Therapy in the Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Biomedical therapy in treating psychological disorders seeks to make physiological changes to reduce psychological symptoms. This primarily includes medication but can also apply more invasive methods, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and psychosurgery (lobotomy).

Medications

Medication works by altering the brain's functions to reduce symptoms, but they do not cure mental health disorders. Here are some common medications used to treat symptoms of disorders such as schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder.

Treatment of Psychological Disorders, Medications can treat Psychological Disorders/Treatments, Study SmarterMedications can treat psychological disorders, Pixabay.com

Selective Serotonin Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs function as antidepressants and are used to treat the symptoms associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Their use increases the amount of serotonin in the brain by blocking its reabsorption back into your neurons.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of mood, reward, learning, and memory. Studies show that people with MDD have low serotonin levels, which contributes to their depressive symptoms. The chemical structure of serotonin is depicted below.

Treatment of Psychological Disorders [+] Serotonin/Treatments of Psychological Disorders[+] Study SmarterSerotonin Chemical Structure, Pixabay.com

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotic medications function to reduce symptoms of psychosis. People suffering from schizophrenia often experience auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations as a symptom of their disorder. Antipsychotic medications work to regulate the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the patient's brain. Antipsychotics are the only way to treat schizophrenia effectively, as the main symptoms of schizophrenia originate from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Patients with schizophrenia can present with mild to severe symptoms, and their dosage needs to be adjusted accordingly. Also, people with schizophrenia may not remember to take a pill every day and need alternative methods. Lucky enough, antipsychotics are also offered as an intramuscular monthly injection.

Freud's Approach to the Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Freud's approach to treating psychological disorders is the basis of the psychoanalytic approach to therapy. Psychoanalytic therapy is a form of talk therapy that explores how the unconscious mind influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Psychodynamic therapy, a branch of Freud's psychoanalytic theory, also seeks to uncover how past childhood events or trauma are causing psychological disorders.

This form of therapy relies heavily on the communication of the patient's feelings, thoughts, and past experiences. One of the main techniques Freud liked to use in psychoanalysis was dream interpretation because he believed dreams are a map to a person's subconscious. Other techniques include free association and transference.

Free association involves the patient sharing their thoughts as they appear in their minds, while transference occurs when a patient projects their feelings about other people onto the psychoanalysis.

Transference is the phenomenon in which a person projects their feelings and desires related to someone important in their life onto someone else (in this case, the therapist).

Cognitive Approach to Treatment of Psychological Disorders

The cognitive approach to the treatment of psychological disorders is based on the assumption that negative or distorted thoughts cause psychological disorders. Cognitive therapy, therefore, focuses on managing and changing these thoughts.

One technique used in the cognitive approach to treating psychological disorders is psychoeducation, in which the therapist educates the patient about their condition. Psychoeducation can provide a helpful perspective to patients, allowing them to begin uncovering and understanding their distorted thoughts causing psychological distress. Once these beliefs are revealed, they can be tested and finally changed.

An effective type of cognitive therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which combines the cognitive approach with the behavioral approach to treating psychological disorders. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is based on the core belief that patients can improve their symptoms if they change how they think and behave. CBT strives to promote healthy coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills.

Psychological Treatment for Mental Illness

A patient can be a part of many forms of therapy. Typically, the most common form of psychological treatment for mental illness is psychotherapy, including group therapy, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, and client-centered therapy. The form of therapy a patient is referred to depends on their personal preference and presenting symptoms. Let's take a look at some of these forms of therapy more closely.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of therapy that involves one mental health professional and a group of people with similar experiences. For example, a person with past trauma may attend a trauma group for therapy. It typically consists of peer members discussing their thoughts and history with their trauma. The mental health professional asks members to share their thoughts and will discuss the person's story to gain the perspectives of other group members. Group therapy is most beneficial for patients who demonstrate a need for social support.

Treatment of Psychological Disorders, five people in chairs in a circle, StudySmarterGroup therapy, Freepik.com

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy works to improve a person's cognition. Typically, it is a one-on-one session with the patient and the mental health professional. In a cognitive therapy session, the provider will work with the patient to reframe or replace distorted thoughts that may be causing feelings of depression or anxiety. A cognitive therapist promotes the mind and body connection and may encourage their patients to try meditating, taking walks, or cleaning their homes.

Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy works to improve a patient's behavior. This form of treatment may be used for people with schizophrenia as severe forms of psychosis can alter a person's behavior and their sense of what behavior is appropriate in public settings. A behavior therapist works with the patient to help them learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors.

Client-Centered Therapy

Client-centered therapy is a type of therapy that seeks to help people find their way to self-actualization through a non-directive approach.

The non-directive approach means that the therapist does not give any direct instruction during therapy but rather acts as a gentle guide on the client's journey toward healing themselves.

The goal of using a non-directive approach in client-centered therapy is to create an environment of trust with the client. This enables the client to find healing within themselves and have a sense of ownership in their own treatment. Ideally, the client should walk away feeling empowered and capable of helping themselves. Common techniques used in client-centered therapy are active listening and unconditional positive regard.

Treatment of Psychological Disorders - Key takeaways

  • The history of the treatment of psychological disorders is a dark one. Many people with mental illnesses were treated inhumanely and were often accused of having a demonic possession.
  • Biomedical therapy in treating psychological disorders seeks to make physiological changes to reduce psychological symptoms.
  • Freud's approach to the treatment of psychological disorders is the basis of the psychoanalytic approach to therapy. Psychoanalytic therapy is a form of talk therapy that explores how the unconscious mind influences our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
  • The cognitive approach to the treatment of psychological disorders is based on the assumption that negative or distorted thoughts cause psychological disorders.
  • Typically, the most common form of psychological treatment for mental illness is psychotherapy, including group therapy, cognitive therapy, and behavior therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders can be treated using medicine or therapy, depending on the severity of a patient's disorder. For example, a person suffering from schizophrenia will need medications to manage their psychosis; however, they may also need therapy depending on their level of function while on medications. 

Mental health treatment works to manage and treat patient symptoms. Mental health treatment does not cure psychological disorders. 

1. Medications, 2. Therapy, 3. Support groups

Treatment for mental disorders includes psychotherapy, where a therapist works directly with the patient discussing ways to improve symptoms; and medications.  

Psychiatric treatment refers to the treatment of psychological disorders with medications.

Final Treatment of Psychological Disorders Quiz

Question

What is the goal of biomedical therapy?

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Treating and reworking the brain itself through medication or physical procedures.

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How are psychotherapy and biomedical therapy different?

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Psychotherapy is a go-to method to help someone overcome personal issues or attain personal growth. Biomedical therapy, on the other hand, has the goal of treating and reworking the brain itself through medication or physical procedures.

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What is psychopharmacology?

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Medications and drugs that are used to treat mental disorders.

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What are the two types of antidepressants?

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SSRI and SNRI

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Antidepressants help promote what?

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Neurogenesis

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What do anti-anxiety medication do?

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Reduce activity in the central nervous system

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What are the three main mood stabilizers?

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Lithium, anticonvulsants, antipsychotic medications

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Antipsychotic medications reduce levels of what?

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Dopamine

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Long-term antipsychotic medications can cause what condition, which shows as tremors and tics?

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Tardive Dyskinesia

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What is ECT?

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Electroconvulsive therapy

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What is rTMS?

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Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

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What does ECT do?

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Reduce activity in the brain and help promote neurogenesis

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What does rTMS do?

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Stimulate nerve cells that help with mood control and depression

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What is DBS?

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Deep brain stimulation

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What do the electrodes do in DBS?

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The electrodes create electrical impulses that can control abnormal brain activity, automatically adjusting for chemical imbalances in the brain. The stimulation is controlled by a little generator that is surgically placed under the skin in the upper chest. 

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What is psychosurgery?

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Surgically having part of their brain tissue removed to either alleviate symptoms or change behavior

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What is a lobotomy?

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Cutting the nerves between the frontal lobe and emotion-controlling parts of the inner brain

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An all-inclusive range of therapies that can benefit people with multiple conditions:

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Alternative therapy

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Therapy that is used in alignment with traditional medicine:

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Complementary therapy

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Alternative therapies are used to reduce ______ and ______.


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Anxiety, stress

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Therapy that involves stretching and can increase flexibility. 

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Yoga

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What type of therapy revolves around mindfulness?

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Mind-body therapies (yoga, meditation)

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What feel-good hormones are released during massage therapy?

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Dopamine and serotonin

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What are three techniques used in Traditional Chinese Medicine?

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Cupping, herbal medicine, acupuncture

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Therapy that uses writing or painting to display emotions.

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Art therapy

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If someone is struggling to create a wellness routine, what are some steps they can take?

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1) Find what they enjoy

2) Set aside time for relaxation

3) Use therapeutic practices daily

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Being present in our bodies without focusing on the past or future:

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Mindfulness

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Examples of whole medical systems.

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Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine

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A neurotransmitter that is responsible for our feelings of pleasure and achievement:

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Dopamine

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What is serotonin?

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A neurotransmitter and hormone that influences our moods and emotions.

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Who can benefit from alternative therapy?

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Anyone

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What is a major drawback for people that practice alternative therapy?

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They might dismiss serious medical issues that need modern medical treatment.

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Cognitive therapy focuses on the idea that illogical thought patterns or irrational ideas are at the root of psychological disorders and therefore seeks to transform the way we think. True or false?

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True

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Flooding is an effective treatment for:

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Phobias 

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______ - ______ ______ is an effective therapy for those with ADHD. 

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Cognitive-behavioral therapy

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Thoughts like, "If I do not get this job I will never find a job again", are best helped through which form of therapy? 

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Rational-emotive behavior

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This kind of therapy seeks to help clients learn better coping skills. 

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Behavioral therapy 

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Aversive conditioning works best for:

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Addiction or habit-based issues. 

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______ ________ is a behavioral therapy that pairs a frightening or worrisome stimulus with relaxation to help calm the client back down.

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 Systemic desensitization

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A client who has a fear of clowns first imagines they are watching a movie about clowns, then imagine they are in a room with a clown. They work up to watching a movie about clowns, and eventually being in a room with a clown. This is an example of: 


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 Systemic desensitization

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______ ______ in this setting looks like the therapist is echoing and clarifying what the client is saying back to them to help facilitate insights. 


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Active listening

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Behavioral therapy focuses on a client's relationship with their past experiences and unconscious self. True or false?

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False: Psychodynamic therapy focuses on a client's relationship with their past experiences and unconscious self.

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______ _______  is based on the perspective of self-responsibility.


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Humanistic therapy

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This approach is usually helpful for those who are seeking to find meaning in their life and less effective for those struggling with more intense mental health struggles. 


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 Humanistic therapy

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Therapists are likely to use active listening to encourage clients to share in this setting.


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 Client-centered therapy

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This therapy tends to be more direct and only lasts 12 weeks, as opposed to other forms of psychotherapy that last much longer, sometimes even indefinitely. 


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Interpersonal therapy

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Alcoholics Anonymous is an example of: 

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Group therapy

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Define "self-help group".

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A small community of people who meet together on a regular basis to gain support in a common issue or occurrence.

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Who are self-help groups good for?

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Individuals struggling with their mental health, substance abuse, addiction problems, grieving, etc.

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True or false? Self-help groups often require a yearly fee. 


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False

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