Understanding Evidence-Based Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

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Early mental health treatment used to be like the Wild West. Doctors, psychiatrists, and clinicians tried all sorts of methods for …

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Early mental health treatment used to be like the Wild West. Doctors, psychiatrists, and clinicians tried all sorts of methods for treating and working with people who lived with mental illness. There was very little understanding of how mental illness affected people, and professionals wondered whether lasting effects from treatment methods were possible.

Clinicians tried many different approaches to treating individuals with mental illness. From talk therapy to group therapy to experiential therapy, dozens of methods made their entrance and exit over the years. Some seemed more effective than others but without extensive evidence, the proof was little more than anecdotal and case-by-case.

Originally, clinicians focused on managing and stabilizing the various symptoms of mental illness. Successful treatment meant relieving the more severe effects and reactions. A few decades and hundreds of thousands of studies later, though, and now mental health professionals have a much deeper understanding of how to treat mental health disorders.

Over time, the focus of psychiatric treatment shifted away from mere symptom management to helping people achieve functional recovery. People today no longer have to settle for simply living with their symptoms; treatment empowers and enables them to live a full, enjoyable life despite their mental illness.

Evidence-based treatment for mental health disorders has been a primary component of this shift. What are evidence-based treatment methods, and how do they help people live with their mental illness?

What is Evidence-Based Psychiatric Treatment?

Psychiatric professionals are no longer providing treatment with a guess-and-check method. The wide range of research and studies available today empowers clinicians to provide treatment based on methods that have proven results. Extensive psychiatric research has led professionals to turn to and rely on evidence-based practices for treatment.

Evidence-based practices sit at the heart of clinical expertise, current research, and patient values and preferences. It relies on the ongoing studies and research dedicated to providing the best possible care for each person that seeks help.

Professionals now have decades of evidence that support the methods available for use today. These evidence-based practices are structured mental health interventions made up of approved procedures supported by studies. Providers can also measure the success of individual interventions. They can make accurate assessments of progress toward clear specific mental health goals and outcomes.

These methods opened a world of possibilities to individuals who used to be confined by the limitations of their mental illness in the past. Objectives for mental health treatment today include independent living, employment, and positive community skills. Things in the past that seemed difficult to reach are now the reality for nearly anyone living with mental illness.

Some Types of Evidence-Based Practices

Providers no longer have to rely on vague guidelines and generic approaches to treatment. Many different evidence-based practices are now in use in facilities around the world. Evidence-based practices are based on proven results that can be replicated for a wide range of people who need treatment.

Here are some of the evidence-based practices we have found most useful at Pasadena Villa:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Medication Evaluation & Management
  • Individual Psychotherapy Sessions
  • Family Therapy

How do some of these methods work in a person’s treatment plan?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy is a modality used for individuals who participate in high-risk behaviors. It teaches individuals to recognize the thought processes leading up to these actions so they can employ self-soothing strategies that reduce reactivity.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

A classic, proven treatment approach, cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses the connection between thoughts and behaviors. People can reduce unhealthy or problematic behaviors by learning to recognize and change their unhealthy or problematic thoughts.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy is a form of psychotherapy based on mindfulness practices. It aims to teach individuals to accept and tolerate symptoms as a way to improve their quality of life.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR is used to treat individuals that have experienced some form of trauma in the past. Individuals in need of this type of psychotherapy are often plagued by painful memories related to death, neglect or abuse.

Medications Evaluation & Management

Many people with serious mental illness find that medications are an important part of their treatment, too. FDA-approved medications are not a cure for mental illness but do serve as a useful tool when combined with other evidence-based practices.

Individual Psychotherapy Sessions

Psychotherapy Sessions or talk therapy is a way to help people with a variety of mental illnesses and emotional challenges. This kind of therapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing.

Family Therapy

Family therapy understands the vital role that the family plays in an individual’s recovery. While wellness is ultimately dependent on the individual, their relationships with their family members also have an impact. Family Therapy brings the family into the treatment environment to work through underlying problems and difficulties.

Benefits of Evidence-Based Practices

There are dozens of benefits of evidence-based practices. One of the greatest assets of these approaches is their replicable nature. Professionals are more likely to receive similar outcomes when they use these proven methods when working with a patient. Other benefits of evidence-based practices include:

  • Symptom reduction and relief
  • Greater chances of treatment adherence
  • Improved socialization and self-management skills
  • Increased mood and social functioning
  • Fewer problems with irritability, frustration, and anger
  • Rebuilding connections with family members or friends
  • Greater ability to find and maintain employment
  • Decreased likelihood of hospitalization
  • Lower chances of turning to alcohol or other substances
  • Less need for a caregiver or ongoing support

These are only some of the many incredible results that evidence-based practices can offer.

Seeking the Help of Evidence-Based Practices for Mental Health

Effective mental health treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Although evidence-based practices exist to provide similar positive outcomes, not all practices work for everyone. Clinicians will determine the best types of treatment methods to use for those seeking help. An individualized treatment plan is the most effective approach to treating mental illness.

Pasadena Villa Network provides residential, day, and outpatient behavioral healthcare programs. We know that every individual is capable and deserving of living a happy, productive, and healthy life. Our services empower those we care for to learn, grow, and recover from the effects of their mental health disorder.

Helping you learn to function among your family, friends, and community is our primary aim. Through our unique Social Integration Model and other treatment modalities, we prepare you to fully engage with life after your time at Pasadena Villa.

Want to learn more about the services available at Pasadena Villa? Please submit a form or give us a call today and an admissions specialist will help you!

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