Bridging the Gap: Mental Health and Physical Health

Culturally, mental health and addiction treatment has been viewed as something completely different from standard health care.  When someone has physical pain, we encourage them to go see a doctor to get medication and appropriate treatment so they can begin to heal.  However, we often don’t know how to react when someone discloses emotional pain or an addictive behavior.  

There seems to be a disconnect in our understanding of the source of mental illness and physical illness.  The brain is a complex and powerful organ but it often goes unnoticed when trying to help someone who expresses feelings of depression, anxiety and other ailments that are neurologically based.

In truth, mental illness and physical illness just illnesses.  They both affect us in similar ways and both have been found to have effective treatments.  Recent developments in technology and science have allowed researchers to better understand the biochemistry and inner workings of the brain and have even allowed them to map out certain processes in the brain.

These advances will allow treatment for mental illness and addiction to be on par with traditional medical practices.  By merging the two, the cultural view can shift and mental health can be perceived as essential to physical health.

Dr. John V. Campo, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State University explains “Psychiatric drugs haven’t improved for decades. So researchers are scouring the brain for leads.  Proven regimens for treating common mental disorders and addictions are aiding the ‘cure’ rate and boosting public acceptance that such care works. Modern practices have the potential to improve public health and, perhaps equally important, engage families more actively in the care of individuals suffering from mental disorders and addictions.”

Continuing support of research and development can lead to more effective and accessible treatment in the future.