Mind and Body are one. There are many ideas about mental health. Some see it as an exaggerated complication that doesn’t have basis in reality. Too many times the concept of “just get over it” is told to us. These feelings can come from of place of good intent, wanting to help separate the drama from reality, but the fact is that our emotions are directly tied to our health. For those that seek help, their health usually follows in line. We cannot separate our mind from our body. Mental health, depression, anxiety, substance abuse… all of these things are tied to a complex system of brain and body. One cannot be separated from the other.
Let’s Start At The Beginning
The first steps to recovery usually begins with a few self realizations:
- The situation is out of control, and you don’t like it.
- You admit this is a problem.
- Accepting what is. Being honest with yourself about the situation.
- Moving towards a solution.
When a person goes through this process of self evaluation or self realization, it is a humbling time. Letting go of the denial, accepting what is and deciding to make a change. Residential treatment programs, outpatient programs, group therapy and individual therapy are all great tools when looking for help. Many people don’t know where to start. Some great beginning resources are your family, general practitioner or calling a treatment center for a reference. There have been many situations where a parent or young adult has called our admission team and we’ve directed them to the right treatment program, even if it isn’t our own. Finding the right match to get the help you need is important.
The Therapeutic Relationship
While all professionals are trained in relatively the same manner, the relationship that you have the those that are helping you greatly impacts the results. Finding the right people that can speak to your unique set of needs helps to ensure you feel comfortable. Developing a relationship where you can trust, be honest and allow yourself to heal is important. When healing the mind, the body is in close unison. Often treatment that combines the medical and physical aspects of health best impacts the healing for the mind. With the practice of dual diagnosis, this merger between brain and body can more directly be targeted. For example, many people that suffer from a variety of mental health concerns self medicate with drugs and alcohol. This substance abuse problem may be more easy to diagnose than any other underlying problems with out the right medical and mental attention. With dual diagnosis, the whole person is evaluated more closely than just the surface. The challenges that may be less obvious are then seen and treated.
There are three important qualities a client should look for when seeking a therapist that Carl Rogers emphasized: empathy, genuineness and respect. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the client’s situation, feelings and motives. It provides the foundation for a therapeutic relationship because it establishes the personal connection. Traits of genuineness include being open, honest, and sincere and an absence of defensiveness and phoniness. This allows the client to be at ease and increases the opportunity for valuable inquiry and awareness. Respect establishes the safety that is essential in a counseling relationship. By accepting the client as a whole, including strengths and weaknesses, an environment has been established where profound issues can be brought to the surface for examination and transformation.
Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association – Essentials of the Therapeutic Relationship
When seeking help, finding the right person to believe in you, hope for you, and help you heal will make a big difference. At New Roads, our mission statement is: “We hold hope and the fundamental belief, that all clients can get better.”
When Mind Meets Body
Serious medical conditions can often be improved when mental health is in check. In previous blog posts, we touched on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Handling stress, addressing depression and taking care of mental health as we age can also greatly increase the function of our cardiovascular system, reducing heart disease.
Research shows that while approximately 20 percent of us experience an episode of depression in our lifetimes, the figure climbs to 50 percent among people with heart disease. Long-term studies reveal that men and women diagnosed with clinical depression are more than twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease or suffer a heart attack. In addition, heart patients are three times as likely to be depressed at any given time than the population as a whole.
And happy people have healthier levels of fibrinogen and cortisol in their blood, making them less vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and other ailments.
Left untreated, depression can put you at substantially greater risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. In fact, clinically depressed people are twice as more likely to suffer a heart attack as long as 10 years after the initial depressive episode.
American Psychological Association: Mind/Body Health : Heart Disease
So while there are those that think depression is simply something one can just decide to be done with, the research shows that when mental health concerns are not addressed, our physical health suffers greatly. Being twice as likely to suffer a heart attack just because one neglects symptoms of depression is a striking statistic.
Becoming More Aware
Our modern technology grants us a great many advantages. We talk more openly about health as a society than we ever had before. We know so much more about our brain function, body function and health in general. Using this research, it is time to create a more healthy dialogue about mental health and own who we are. We don’t have to be defined by a diagnosis with treatment. There are many people people with severe and extreme cases of schizophrenia that live seemingly normal lives. Many overcome their symptoms and share their experiences in educational establishments, universities and other treatment programs to show what potential is possible with the help of medication and treatment.
But above all the dialogue, there is one message that should be made very clear : You can be happy. Life can be better than struggling through every day. It isn’t necessary to burry yourself in a bottle or lose your identity to a diagnosis. Treatment can teach you the right skills to overcome your unique obstacles. Talking to a professional and finding help can improve your life and make it worth living. Find a goal, motivate yourself to see your potential and reach out.
Our skilled team of professionals is here to help. Even if you don’t know where to start, we can guide you in the right direction : 888-358-8998.