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Mental illnesses are complex disorders that require specialized treatment. Each person’s experience with a mental health condition is different and can bring up questions and concerns. Often, people ask providers if their mental illness can be cured, or if they will struggle with it for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, the answer may not be as simple as “yes” or “no.” However, understanding mental health disorders and the treatment process can help anyone with these conditions improve their quality of life.

What Is a Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses affect someone’s emotional and physical states. Someone with these conditions will notice an impairment in functioning in a variety of areas. Some of the most common categories of mental health disorders are:

  • Depressive Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Substance Use Disorders

Each of these categories has unique criteria a person must meet to qualify for an official diagnosis. Usually, symptoms must be present for a defined period of time and will interfere with someone’s ability to complete necessary tasks. They can affect mood, behavior, physical functioning, and social interactions. 

How Are Mental Health Disorders Diagnosed?

To receive an official diagnosis, you will need to visit either a medical or mental health professional. They will look at your history and current symptoms and determine if you meet the criteria for a specific disorder. You will be asked questions about when you started noticing signs, how long they last, and how this affects your daily life. These are not to pass judgment, so you can answer them honestly. All the provider wants to do is determine how to best help your situation. They will use this information to decide what condition best matches your symptoms. 

Can You Cure a Mental Illness?

After you know what mental illness you have, you will likely begin looking at treatment. Therapy and medication are helpful in the beginning stages, but you may need to look into more intensive options depending on the severity of your case. Throughout this process, you may ask yourself or your provider if there is a way to cure your mental health condition. This is a natural question for any diagnosis, whether medical or otherwise. Typically, these can’t be “cured,” but they can be well-managed. This may sound like a discouraging answer, but it actually provides hope for anyone struggling with these disorders. 

Managing a Diagnosis

What does it mean to manage your diagnosis? Just as people live with high blood pressure or diabetes, you can live a full life with a mental illness. Managing these conditions requires the same type of care as a medical diagnosis. Often, there is a combination of lifestyle changes and potentially medication to help mitigate your symptoms. You’ll work with a mental health professional to determine the best combination of therapy and other treatment options for you. While there may not be a moment where you can say you are cured, many people manage their disorder and live a normal life. The longer you practice coping skills and commit to healthy choices, the easier and more natural they will feel. With the right treatment, you might be pleasantly surprised at how your life improves despite your condition. 

Intensive Treatment for Multiple Diagnoses

As you begin recovery from a mental illness, you may realize you need more support than you can get in outpatient treatment. It’s also common for people to have more than one diagnosis, such as a substance use disorder and another mental health condition. Substance use disorders that co-occur with other conditions can make treatment more challenging. At Hope by the Sea, we offer a comprehensive dual-diagnosis treatment program specifically for those managing both mental health and substance use issues. Our California residential treatment center helps you develop the skills you need to establish a lifetime of sobriety. If you are managing co-occurring disorders, you can live a full life with the right foundation and support. Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our treatment options.