Psychiatric illnesses used to be considered frightening, shameful, and untreatable.   Now, using a bio-psycho-social model of treatment most people improve and many achieve full remission.  Some even report being happier and more satisfied than at any previous time in their lives. Recognizing the complexity of the human brain, the variability of life experiences, and our unique genetic endowment, the journey to recovery is not achieved through a cook-book approach.

How we think, feel, and behave, results from the interplay of the biological, psychological, and social factors that have uniquely made each of us who we are. If we are having  problems with our thinking, moods, or relationships then it is essential to find the source of these difficulties and develop strategies  to resolve  them.

Your psychiatrist will  assess your physical state, may order laboratory studies to determine endocrine function and may also request a Genetic assessment to help guide in the selection of the best medication options.    A close look at  whether your life style (work  hours, recreation time, eating, sleeping, drinking, drugs,etc) is conducted to determine ways to help you live a healthier life.   And finally  since humans are social  beings there must also be an honest assessment of your social relationships( how satisfying is your primary relationship, are you getting your needs met, how are conflicts resolved, do you feel cared for,etc)

After all of these assessments are made a plan of action is agreed on and treatment begins.   While in other fields of medicine it is okay for a  patient  to be a passive recipient of care, in psychiatry if you want to get better you must be an active partner in your treatment program. When it comes to medicine, this means noting physical and emotional changes and reporting them at each meeting.

In the case of psychotherapy  this may mean looking at things in a different way, trying on new behaviors that are awkward or uncomfortable, or sharing feelings that you previously kept to yourself.     Being an active partner is therapy is what helps 21st century psychiatry  get people from “ feeling better, to feeling well”