Statistics show that most people will develop or experience mental health symptoms or a mental health emergency at least once in their lifetime. What if I told you that the chances of someone experiencing a mental illness are higher than developing a serious health condition including but not limited to heart disease, diabetes or any type of cancer. Most people are more willing to take care of their physical health than their own mental health.
Many cultures negatively stigmatize mental health symptoms/illness and believe that it is nonexistent. What would happen if we took this same approach to physical illness’ such as high blood pressure or the flu? We would have ill people going to work, grocery shopping, caring for our children, leading our countries and making big decisions all while they are physically ill. According to the National Institute of Mental Health only half of people with mental illnesses receive treatment. This means that the other half are trying to function normally when they are unable to do so.
Most Common Mental Health Conditions
According to the World Health Organization, the two most common mental health conditions are depression and anxiety.
Research shows that depression affects over 350 million people worldwide. Symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to:
- A two-week period of feeling consistently sad
- Experiencing loss of interest
- Changes in sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in energy level
- Changes in concentration
Anxiety affects over 284 million people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, China, India and the U.S. are the countries most affected by anxiety. These countries also have the highest levels of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Symptoms of anxiety consist of, but are not limited to:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- An increased heart rate
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
Anxiety can interfere in day to day life and can be extremely difficult to control without proper mental health treatment.
The Research on Psychotherapy
So, the question becomes does therapy work? Can therapy address mental health conditions? According to the American Psychological Association, research indicates that psychotherapy has been found to be very effective in treating mental and behavioral health issues for a wide range of individuals and mental health diagnosis.
Psychotherapy has been found to be more effective than medical treatments that are used to address mental health issues. Psychotherapy has been shown to:
- Decrease psychiatric hospitalizations
- Improve overall functioning at work
- Teaching client’s skills that last once they are no longer in treatment.
Combining psychotherapy and medication has been shown to be more effective than just medication by itself. Results of psychotherapy are known to have a longer result than using medication, which at times can have harmful side effects.
Please remember that a therapist is not there “to fix you”. A therapist is there to help you develop insight into your thoughts, worries, problems, and mental health condition. If you find yourself wondering does therapy work and you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, please contact us at Olney Counseling Center at (301) 570-7500 to begin working with one of our qualified mental health therapists.