There are many treatments available to help
people to recover from, or to live a better life with, a mental
Every person with a mental illness is different, and their road
to recovery will be different so the best treatment will depend on
the kind of person they are, as well as the diagnosis.
This page discusses treatments:
Many people find treatments that involve talking helpful.
These treatments can take many different forms. They can be
one-to-one or in a group; they can involve conversations about your
past or focus on actions for the future. Sometimes talking
treatments work best if you are also taking medication, while
others require that you stop taking it.
Every treatment and every
person is different, so you may have to try a few kinds of talking
treatment before you find one that works for you.
Your doctor may suggest that you try taking medication.
There are lots of different medications available, which can be
taken in different forms and combinations. Some medications have
side-effects, which can be unpleasant. Your doctor should discuss
these with you.
Many people find that taking medication allows them to live a
good life, although you may have to try a few different medications
before you feel better. You may find it useful to take medication
as well as using other treatments, such as talking therapy.
Some people find using alternative therapies, such as
aromatherapy massage or hypnotherapy helpful for dealing with their
symptoms. Most complementary therapies do not have any side
If you are using mainstream treatments, such as medication or
using talking treatments, it may be helpful to use alternative
therapies alongside these. You should consult your doctor before
you stop using any mainstream treatment.
In some cases, changes to lifestyle can improve mental health.
Exercise, taking time off work, or enjoying a hobby, like art or
gardening, can make a big difference.
Of course, some people will require other treatments, but
lifestyle changes can still be an important part of recovery.
In severe cases of mental illness, where other treatments have
not been effective, your doctor may suggest using electroconvulsive
This treatment is most often used for treating severe
depression, although it can be used for other illnesses. It is
performed under general anaesthetic and involves running an
electric current through the brain to induce convulsions. It can be
very effective for some people.
There are safeguards for ECT. If you do
not give your consent, the approval of a specialist second opinion
doctor, or designated medical practitioner, is required.
Sometimes, spending some time in hospital can be helpful. As
well as getting medical treatment, being in hospital can give you a
break and give you access to specialists, such as occupational
therapists or psychologists.
You might choose to have a stay in hospital, but sometimes, when
people are very unwell, they are unwilling or unable to make
decisions about their treatment. In these cases it may be necessary
for you to be detained under the mental health act, or "sectioned".
On this page, you can find out more about being detained.
For more in-depth information on treatments, visit Mind or Royal College of Psychiatrists.