Occupational therapy, as one of the techniques for addressing issues of mental health, has been shown to be quite effective. As mental health becomes a concern in different parts of the world today, professionals in this field of mental health are encouraged to make use of occupational therapy to address the psychological problems that people tend to face. The National Review presents a study conducted by a medical journal which states that there has been an increase in issues relating to mental health, especially among teenagers who tend to suffer from depression. As a form or rehabilitating therapy, occupational therapy focuses on assisting patients facing disruptions in performing daily tasks. This technique employs an all-inclusive technique which examines their patient’s environment, cognitive, and physical aspects of rehabilitation. There are numerous benefits associated with occupational therapy which can assist your loved one, whether young or old, to overcome their psychological issues. This guide examines the role of occupational therapy and how it can help your loved ones with their mental health conditions.
What Does Occupational Therapy Entail?
Occupational therapy as a profession is the therapeutic utilization of the everyday life occupations or activities with people or groups with the aim of enabling or enhancing participation in routines, roles, and habits in school, at home, at the place of work, in the community, or in any other kind of setting. In other words, the role of the occupational therapist is to help a person to get back to on their feet and do what they have been doing. This professional can work hand in hand with patients that are suffering from physical injuries, psychosocial dysfunction, cognitive impairments, mental illness, and learning or developmental disabilities. This professional will evaluate the patient by examining the transactions between the client factors (spirituality, sensory and mental function, beliefs, values, etc.), performance skills (social interaction skills, process skills, motor skills), context/environment, and performance patterns (roles, habits, rituals, routines) in an effort to promote the task to encourage participation in the desired life activities. Moreover, an occupational therapist can help to prevent any barriers that may prevent a person from taking part in the desired activities.
Occupational therapists who work in mental health centres often work to ensure individuals are able to re-engage in meaningful activities or occupations through different skill sets such as setting therapy goals, focusing on the development of skills, establishing positive routines and habits, and understanding the underlying physiological influences. Within the setting of adolescents and teenagers, occupational therapy focuses on addressing the psychological issues that prevent them from carrying out their daily activities such as making friends, going to school, or taking part in a family system. Additionally, the therapists can work with individuals that have sensory processing disorders as well as social-emotional learning dysfunction which are common among patients of mental health. With that in mind, occupational therapy plays a crucial role in ensuring individuals can continue to carry out their daily activities without any form of distraction.
What Mental Health Conditions Can Occupational Therapy Address?
The role of occupational therapy in addressing mental health conditions cannot be underestimated as this technique can do so much for your loved ones. Here is a few mental conditions quality occupational therapy can help address.
According to a report by the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 12.5 percent of teenagers in the United States have suffered from significant episodes of depression. Today, depression is a common mental condition that affects a majority of young adults not only in the United States but in the entire world as well. Those who are usually affected by this mental disorder often lack the interest and energy to take part in their daily activities. Moreover, individuals suffering from depression are usually disengaged from social activities. Depression exists in different forms such as dysthymia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, and postpartum depression. Among teenagers and young adults, the most common types of depression include bipolar disorder, dysthymia, and adjustment disorder.
As professionals, occupational therapists can help their patients to work towards overcoming the depression by teaching them about different ways to regain control of their daily activities. More specifically, these professionals can help your loved ones to reflect on their emotions and behaviors. That way, they’ll be in a position to identify the source of their issues and establish a balance to discover new meaning in what they do. Being in apposition to understand the effects of depression on one’s behavior is important as it allows the patient to engage in abandoned activities. Encouraging participation and offering a solid structure within the treatment plan is instrumental in helping your loved ones to manage their depression.
2. Eating Disorder
Another condition that can be addressed through occupation therapy is an eating disorder. According to reports by the Massachusetts Eating Disorders Association, approximately forty percent of girls, mostly teenagers suffer from an eating disorder. The truth behind eating disorder is defined by the National Eating Disorders Association as the association of strong negative behaviors, attitudes, and emotions surrounding food and weight loss issues. This mental condition is categorized into three: bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating. When your loved one is suffering from this mental health condition, their attitudes and behaviors toward their activities are hampered by their steady focus on weight and food. This can result in the disruption of their everyday activities. In work and school settings, this can lead to underperformance due to the lack of interest in what they do.
Occupational therapy will assist your loved ones who are diagnosed with an eating disorder to regain their interest and participation in daily activities. The occupational therapists can incorporate this technique in addressing mental health problem by using sensory psychotherapy and therapy to assist the patient to feel better. Creating positive associations with occupations and different thought processes can assist patients in overcoming their views and beliefs on food and matters to do with weight. The source of a patient’s behavior is often based on perceptions and associations which they have established by and of themselves. Therefore, it is important for occupational therapists to assist mental health patients to identify how their emotions impact their behaviors. Once the patients are aware of their emotions, occupational therapists can use different techniques to assist them in managing their lifestyle through CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).
3. Anxiety Disorders
No matter how much a person may want to deny it, anxiety is a common emotion that exists in each and every individual, so you should not be surprised to find your loved one suffering from an anxiety disorder. Although anxiety is a normal part of life, you need to be concerned when their anxiety begins to disrupt their life, preventing them from carrying out their daily activities. According to Mental Health America, anxiety is divided into six categories: panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
If your loved one is suffering from an anxiety disorder, chances are they are encountering challenges in social participation, sleeping, taking part in daily activities, and participating in work and education environments. Through occupational therapy, it is possible to assist your loved ones suffering from anxiety disorders by ensuring they are in a position to take part in their activities. The use of Social and Emotional Learning, as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, has been instrumental in enabling patients to pinpoint the sources of their anxiety and implement a different technique for addressing them. Through these techniques, the patient can manage their reactions and emotions to the different factors triggering the source of their anxiety. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy can help your loved ones with an anxiety disorder to re-engage in their daily routines thus making them productive members of society once again.
Addressing Barriers to Mental Health
Occupational therapists address challenges to optimal functioning using different intervention approaches which focus on creating opportunities, enhancing skills, promoting wellness, restoring or remediating skills, adapting or modifying the environment, and preventing relapse. When it comes to stigma, occupational therapy helps to address self-efficacy by creating chances for promoting advocacy in the civic arenas. In the case of safety barriers, occupational therapy offers intervention include promoting self-care and preventing victimization through meaningful healthy activity. In addition to that, interventions of occupational therapy help to address educational, prevocational, and vocational performance. Practitioners collaborate with educators, employers, clients, and other agencies to assist patients to attain success in their different activities. For lack of long-term housing, this approach to mental health resolution can analyze performance skills and the needs for residing in a community.
Mental illness is one of the leading causes of disability not only in the United States but in the entire world as well. Mental illness can significantly affect a person’s ability to take part in their daily activities, making them unproductive members of society. As a profession and an intervention approach, occupational therapy is instrumental in helping patients of mental illness develop the skills required to enable them to live their lives to the fullest.
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