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You noticed the signs of emotional distress and did the right thing by seeking out a therapist. Being proactive is essential when you are possibly dealing with a mental health disorder. However, after months of therapy, you continue to struggle and may be even get worse. So, what should you do when therapy doesn’t work?
Fortunately, there are options available to someone who has not had any relief from their symptoms. Therapy is only one piece of a vast range of mental health treatment options. If you have not had any improvement in your mental health issue, read on to learn what your options are.
What to Do When You Recognize the Signs of Mental Health Distress
As someone who is tuned in to your body and mental health, you may have noticed some changes that caused some concern. Maybe you are having sleep issues. Possibly you find yourself avoiding loved ones and hiding away. Perhaps you have had a sudden weight gain or loss that you can’t explain.
It is always wise to be aware of any changes that you can’t explain away. Here are some common symptoms of mental health distress that warrant attention:
- Extreme mood swings.
- Confused thinking or speech.
- Isolating behaviors.
- Changes in personality.
- Odd or inappropriate behavior.
- Rapid weight gain or loss.
- Angry or violent outbursts.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Extreme despair.
- Odd body postures or movements.
- Ignores personal hygiene.
- Problems keeping up with the demands of work or family.
- Increased despair.
- Increase in risky behaviors.
- Increased substance abuse.
- Is obsessed with death and dying.
- Suicide threats or attempts.
If some of these warning signs of mental illness are present, it is time to seek the help of a doctor. A physical exam and blood work can reveal if there is a health issue or medication that is causing the symptoms.
After the medical exam, the doctor is able to refer you to a mental health expert who can schedule therapy sessions. Most mental health disorders are treated with a combo of therapy and drugs. This approach has been found to help many people get through mental health challenges. However, for some, therapy and meds are not enough to bring relief.
When to Seek a Higher Level of Care
When you start therapy, after the diagnosis is made and a treatment plan is devised, there will be benchmarks to reach. Once you are seeing the therapist on a regular basis, he or she will keep tabs on your progress.
After six months, the therapist may not be satisfied with your progress and may suggest a higher level of care. These are programs that offer a more intensive and comprehensive treatment approach.
Treatment Options When Therapy Doesn’t Work
If your mental health is in decline, even after months of therapy, you should look into other treatment options. Here are some to consider:
Outpatient treatment: There are two other outpatient treatment options to look into when standard therapy sessions weren’t enough. The intensive outpatient program (IOP) offers about nine hours of therapy per week, including both individual and group formats. The partial hospitalization program (PHP) or day program is the highest level of outpatient care. The PHP offers 30 hours of weekly programming that includes group and individual therapy, life skills training, and holistic methods.
Residential treatment: A residential mental health program offers an even higher level of care. These are small private programs in a home setting, which provide a peaceful, more intimate healing experience. By residing there for a period of time, you are able to work daily with a therapist. This format provides many therapeutic activities that complement the therapy and enhance the overall treatment experience.
How to Select a Treatment Program
With so many options available, it is a bit of a challenge to know which is best for you. Your therapist can be helpful in directing you toward a higher level of care. They will have worked with you for a while and understand where you are and what you need. Even if they can’t point you toward a specific program, they can still advise you on the best treatment setting for you.
Likewise, an online mental health support resource is an excellent place to begin your search for treatment. These mental health experts can guide you toward programs in your area that take your insurance. They are also knowledgeable about which residential programs might specialize in depression or anxiety, for instance.
The program should be licensed and accredited, and staffed by a team of mental health professionals. The setting should be clean, and organized, and have a positive, respectful vibe. Check online ratings to read client feedback to gain even more information about the program.
More Steps You Can Take to Improve Mental Health
Whether you are in counseling with a local therapist or enrolled in an outpatient or residential program, consider lifestyle habits. These are the actions you take to improve overall wellbeing, and can only improve mental health.
Some self-care actions you can take include:
- Get active. Even though you may not feel like working out, push yourself to do it anyway. Exercise is very good for our mental health. Try to incorporate some form of exercise or physical activity into each day, even if it is just a 15-minute walk.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can be woven into your daily life and accessed whenever you feel yourself drifting back into unhealthy thought patterns. Mindfulness helps you stay in the moment instead of getting tangled up in stress and worry.
- Self-pampering. Self-care should be a priority. Tend to wellness by getting a massage, taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, and cooking a special meal.
In sum, there are many options to explore if your mental health is still a struggle when therapy doesn’t work. Reach out for guidance today.
The Treatment Specialist Trusted Resource for Mental Health Guidance
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. If you have tried therapy but are still struggling, we can help. When therapy doesn’t work, please reach out to us at (866) 644-7911.