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According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), mental disorders or mental illnesses are psychological conditions that result in a disorganization of an individual’s personality functions, cognitive functions, emotions, and relationships that result in significant impairment or distress for the individual. Mental illnesses are identified by changes in the person’s thoughts, mood, and/or behavior.
Organizations like APA have standard diagnostic criteria and definitions of various different types of mental illnesses that include but certainly are not limited to disorders classified as:
The actual diagnosis and treatment of a mental disorder or mental illness in any individual is dependent on numerous factors, including the individual’s physical health; some physical conditions can result in changes in mood, behavior, and thinking that mimic mental disorders. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with a mental illness, the behavior typically should not reflect complications associated with a medical condition like hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, a urinary tract infection, etc. In addition, the diagnosis and treatment should take into consideration the individual’s cultural background; certain types of behaviors that would be classified as a mental disorder in one culture would be acceptable as normal in other cultures. Finally, both should consider the social situation of the individual; individuals suffering from normal bereavement as a result of the loss of a loved one are typically not diagnosed with a depressive disorder unless the bereavement is extremely or abnormally prolonged.Residential treatment facilities offer 24-hour access to treatment as well as a safe haven for individuals with mental illnesses to stay in while they recover. They differ from inpatient psychiatric units in hospitals in that they are more “homey” in their environment and typically are not designed to deal with acute manifestations of mental illness. Instead, after an individual has left an inpatient psychiatric unit, these facilities are designed to continue to deliver intensive treatment in a controlled living environment for a specific period of time to allow the individual to continue their recovery.
Residential treatment has some specific advantages over outpatient treatment that can apply to individuals who have severe issues that need more intensive interventions. Of course, residential programs provide significantly more organization and efficacy than an individual attempting to deal with their mental illness without professional intervention.
According to APA, SAMHSA, the American Psychological Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and numerous clinical references, there are several important principles to consider when initiating effective treatment for any form of mental illness. Residential treatment facilities can offer these advantages, and because of their structure, they can enhance the effectiveness of these principles.
These principles include: