Mental and Behavioral Health: Understanding the Different Kinds of Treatment

Like the illnesses themselves, mental and behavioral health treatment takes many different forms, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. It is important to understand the differences between these treatments before seeking help for mental illness or behavioral problems. In this blog post, we will discuss two broad categories: psychotherapy and medication.


Psychotherapeutic treatments (also called “talk therapy”) involve a therapist and patient working together to identify and address problems, usually through conversation. This can take many forms depending on what the root of the problem is. Sometimes psychotherapeutic treatment includes targeted counseling about interpersonal relationships or family dynamics in order to help patients cope with difficulties they are experiencing at home, at work or in their relationships.

Patients who are having trouble coping with stress might benefit from psychotherapeutic treatment that focuses on mindfulness and relaxation techniques, while those struggling to make difficult life decisions could find help through therapy focused on decision-making skills.

Psychotherapy is almost always used alongside medication when treating severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or clinical depression. The combination of medication and therapy can be very helpful in treating these conditions, but the choice to use one over the other is often personal preference based on symptoms experienced by each individual patient.

For more mild mental/behavioral disorders, such as anxiety and depression,  psychotherapy can be an effective stand-alone treatment. Patients who are experiencing stress or having trouble coping with difficult life events might find psychotherapeutic treatment helpful in relieving mental/emotional distress without the use of medication.

One drawback of psychotherapy is that it can be difficult to find the right therapist for each patient. This is because not all therapists are trained in treating every type of mental illness or behavioral disorder and even if they were, there is no guarantee that the therapist and patient will get along. Patients might need to see several different therapists before finding one that meets their needs.


In contrast to psychotherapeutic treatment is medication-based treatment. This type of treatment involves a doctor prescribing medications that work directly on the symptoms causing distress in order to reduce them.

This can be helpful in treating symptoms of mental/emotional distress (such as anxiety, depression, or stress) but is not effective at actually curing the underlying illness. For this reason, they are usually used in conjunction with other types of therapy in moderate to serious cases.

Unlike psychotherapeutic treatment, medication typically only requires one appointment with a doctor to get started on the right medications for the patient’s specific condition. This means that patients might be able to get started on medication-based treatment quickly, although it can take some time for the medications to start working and begin alleviating symptoms.

One drawback of this type of treatment is that patients must commit themselves fully to taking their prescribed medications as directed by their doctor or they might not receive full relief from symptoms. Not all mental illnesses respond the same way to medication, and some might not respond at all.

Another drawback is that some have side effects for certain people, such as loss of appetite, weight gain, fatigue, or nausea.

Mental health is a serious issue that affects all of us, and it’s important to know the difference between different kinds of treatment. Whether you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or an even more severe condition like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, it’s important to remember that there are several options for you.


Jeff Campbell