Self help is a viable option in many cases of metnal health difficulties and disorders. In fact, whether someone gets professional help or not, self help should and must be a part of the healing process if there are going to be long-term gains in mental healing.

If we go to a doctor and lay ourselves on the table, and expect him to "fix it," with pills or any other way, we are kidding ourselves. We have a personal responsibility to fix ourselves, and any professional is merely helping us along in that process.

Self help then, is one of those first steps in every treatment plan, from the moment one realizes he is having difficulties, until one's symptoms have gone into remission. We have to help ourselves, we have to work, fight, to overcome our symptom, our mental health disorder or difficulties. It takes much effort, like the butterfly coming out of the cocoon. We can emerge a different person, a stronger person, but we can't resign ourselves to a label and say that there is nothing we can do about it, except take pills. Any assistance should be for most, a temporary stopgap, while one develops skills to overcome symptoms and to develop coping tools. Of course, some situations are more difficult than others and we have to be patient, but it is possible to overcome many symptoms of mental health disorders, if we can recognize life-style patterns that may be contributing to these disorders.

Simple lifestyle changes in diet, including exercise, are stated to be effective in overcoming up to 30% of the symptoms associated with Biplar Disorder, by one expert specialist on the subject. That being the case, if we look even deeper than the physical aspect of our lifestyle, can we bring that number up to 50%? 70% If we do, then we have effectively taken ourselves out of the clinical range of mental illness. It can and has been done.

Lifestyle changes, such as stopping the use of any alcohol, quitting smoking, exercising daily, attention to diet and good nutrition, can be very effective in long-term gains in mental health for many. Cutting back, sometimes way back, on time on the television, even the news, keeping movie time to a minimum, other pages on the site explain that idea more thoroughly, and cutting out anything that might overwhelm the mind, toning down our taste in music as well as the amount of time we spend with it, all of this can help us make gains in our symptom profile.

There are many options in treating mental health disorders. In Great Britain, Health magazine reported that doctors are known to prescribe self-help books to patients as a first line defense strategy. Medication is given secondary consideration.

There are many therapies that persons can participate in, and some of them are listed below. However, use of psychiatric medications for both adults and children has increased between four and five times in the past decade, some say it has increased seven-fold This is proving to be true even for children as young as four years old.

There are a number of books that provide useful guidelines along these lines, written by physicians and by psychiatrists. Natural Prozac, by Joel Robertson, Prozac Backlash, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, Rethinking ADHD, by Ruth Neven from Australia, The ADD Handbook by Dr. Susan Ashley, are all helpful references for both depression and ADHD.

Lifestyle changes can help a person to regain and maintain mental balance without having to resort to medications. It takes courage to face one's problems and make changes in one's life and to swim against the current, There is personal responsibility in our decisions and our decisions cannot be relegated to another person, not even to a doctor, family member or other professional.

Coaching for those with ADHD or depression is also available. There are organizations that can give you a list of coaches in your area. Many coaches work through the phone. They are there to support you or your child, to give practical suggestions and encouragement and to give reminders to whoever might be having problems so as to help keep them on track and on the plan. Coaching is less costly than a therapist, and is often used in addition to the role of a therapist but at times has been used instead of a therapist. The suggestion has been made by one mental health organization, that some who may not want to go on medicine or see a psychologist, might try coaching as a first line of defense. This has been helpful for some persons suffering with mental health disorders.

There have been some very nice success stories as a result of coaching alone. Of course, it depends on the quality of the one who is doing the coaching, as well as the willingness of the client to change.

Author's Bio: 

John Samuels is an Educator, Newark, NJ public schools. BA Social Science/Psychology. NJ not for profit 501 c(3) corporation and Health on the Internet (HON, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland) website.