Mental-health professionals can treat many mental-health disorders successfully. The first crucial step, then, is to obtain a thorough assessment from a competent health professional who is experienced in treating mental conditions.
Sufferers, however, can benefit from such experience only when they accept suitable treatment. This may require overcoming any reluctance to talk to others about a mental illness. Treatment may include talking to trained mental-health professionals who can help them understand their illness, resolve practical problems, and reinforce the need not to give up the treatment. At such consultations, a family member or friend can play a vital role by providing reassurance and support.
Many people have learned to deal with mental disorders after acquiring a better understanding of their condition and following the treatment prescribed by mental-health professionals. "Before my wife was diagnosed," says Mark, quoted earlier, "we had little understanding of mental illness. But we've learned to take life one step at a time and adapt to our situation. Over time, we have benefited from the support of reliable professionals as well as family and friends."
Claudia agrees. "In the beginning, my diagnosis felt like a prison sentence," she admits. "But even though my illness places limitations on both of us, I have learned that seemingly impossible hurdles can be overcome. So I cope with my mental illness by working together with my treatment team, nurturing relationships with others, and taking one moment at a time."