first steps to discover your mental health treatment and diagnosis options

simply stephen / February 7, 2012

Obtaining a diagnosis is the first step to getting treatment if you suspect an issue with your mental health (or health in general). It’s not something you should avoid.

  • Get help if you feel extremely (or even moderately) sad, empty and hopeless.
  • Get help if you have an inability to wake up or take daily action.
  • Get help if you have lost all energy and your body feels laden or flu like.
  • Get help if you are having behavioural problems (existing or new ones).
  • Get help if your diet has changed substantially (lack of appetite, overeating, change of eating habits).
  • Get help if you notice any difference in your general health.

It’s important to catch things early. This increases the chances of success and reduces the pain and complications.

where to start with your treatment

It’s easier than you think. Go to your regular doctor. If you don’t have one go to a clinic. Don’t avoid it because of insurance plans and coverage. Think about the long term repercussions and realize that there are actually lots of options and support groups that don’t cost money. This is where you get your diagnosis. Without knowing what is ailing you, it becomes difficult to treat.

Important – if the doctor you are talking to tries to minimize your concerns, it’s time to find another doctor. They should be directing you to the proper expert and checking to see if there are any other issues present. Your symptoms and the way you feel are important. They need to be validated, addressed and treated.

The medical professional will screen you appropriately and find out what symptoms you have. They will determine what the issue is. This will include a history and physical to ensure they catch everything.

often there are overlapping issues

Someone with a depressive disorder may have seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, phobias or even be an alcoholic. It’s not uncommon to have multiple disorders and issues. They are often related. Sometimes they have the same root cause. Each issue needs to be carefully reviewed as the treatments may differ.

Maybe your mental health issue is being caused by a greater medical issue that needs to be addressed.

Please…don’t fear the result and avoid going to the doctor. That’s why it is important to go. The earlier you go the better your chances.

Treatment will depend on your diagnosis and the choices your doctor recommends and discusses with you. Try to get a good dialogue going to review all the options. Options that work with your philosophies, energy level, beliefs, resources and time constraints.

commitment is mandatory

If the symptoms disappear, please don’t be naive and think they won’t return. You need to treat the underlying causes to ensure a healthy future too.

options for treatments

Prevention is always worth more than a cure.

By maintaining a healthier lifestyle and avoiding harmful habits you will increase your recovery time and general feeling of health. Positive attitude, while difficult during your breakdown is still paramount. I couldn’t really sum it up better than the folks over at The Association for Natural Psychology did here:

We need to keep a positive attitude.

Lifestyle changes and self help can lead to a more permanent solution for depression and other mental health issues.

Some self help principles and tools for good mental health, depression and other mental health issues can be summed up as follows:

  • Love
  • Purposeful living
  • Mental hygiene
  • Spiritual hygiene and attention to spiritual needs.
  • Physical activity & balance
  • Cleanliness & Order
  • Mind Strengthening and creative activities
  • Art as a natural mood stabilizer
  • Honesty & Humility
  • Communication concerning the present and past.
  • Effort.
  • Finding good companions and avoiding isolation.


That’s great advice!

After you take your first steps some treatment options will be determined. In general a combination of the following should be implemented:

nutrition: It’s a shame that our medical systems don’t include nutrition as a basis for treatment because most health problems were probably caused or amplified because of poor nutrition. Creating the right habits with a healthy diet, good sleep, exercise and a supportive routine will build a foundation that has a guaranteed positive impact on your life.

education & support: This too is paramount for your recovery. Self help is a great step but remember there is a lot of information. Get guidance and make smart decisions. Social activity is important. Having a structure that includes support is vital. If friends and family are not taking you seriously and offering a positive experience to help you recover it’s important to find external resources and support groups that will. It may even be necessary to reduce contact with the negative influences.

therapy: There are a lot of options for therapy including group support. There’s a slew of professionals to help out – General Physician, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Social Worker and various specialists. There is also group and even light therapy treatment.

Some medical treatments include medication and a variety of more extreme actions. Doctors have a tendency to medicate quickly but recently there is a movement that is turning away from this approach. Take a look at your options first. Change your habits, expand your support group, educate yourself.

Good treatment is important. Don’t settle for anything less. The first step really begins with you!


All-natural, positive steps for better mental health, Association for Natural Psychology,

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