Can Occupational Therapists diagnose mental illness?

15 Nov, 2021

Occupational therapists have extensive knowledge to detect and support those suffering with a mental health issue. However, to properly diagnose a mental illness and recommend the best treatment, an occupational therapist will look out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Excessive worrying or anxiety
  • Excessive anger, sadness, and irritability
  • Social withdrawal and detachment
  • Changes in moods
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Inability to deal with everyday stressors
  • Constant fatigue and lack of energy
  • Lack of interest in people and activities
  • Excessive use of alcohol and other drugs
  • Suicidal thoughts
Mental health

Once an Occupational therapist better understands your mental health condition, they will guide you on the best treatment. Here are several approaches and methodologies an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant may use to help someone with a mental illness:

1. Humanistic Therapy

Generally, this therapy emphasises self-discovery, free will, and human potential. It can improve your self-awareness and help you build on your strengths. In addition, this therapy encourages you to take responsibility for your actions even if they are unpleasant.

Mental health OTs prefer employing this therapy on depression, relationship issues, anxiety, addiction, and personality disorder patients.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This therapy is known for its effectiveness in relieving mental illnesses quickly. It convinces you that your thoughts are solely responsible for your actions and feelings. And you can change your current situation positively by just changing your thoughts.

Most patients love it as it is fun and highly engaging. Your mental health occupational therapist may apply it to treat stress, insomnia, anger, anxiety, or substance use.

3. Behavioral Therapy

Behavioural therapy uses an action-oriented strategy to avert mental health conditions. It can guide you in how to work through your life rather than reacting passively to it. Also, behavioural therapy can be instrumental in replacing anxiety and fear with relaxation.
An occupational therapist can use this approach if you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, or behavioural issues that stem from communication disorders.

4. Psychodynamic Therapy

In this type of therapy, you and your therapist will try to unearth the relationship between your unconscious mind and your behaviour. While this therapy can take time, your mental health may continue to improve even after completion. It is most effective if you have an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, substance use, or somatic disorder.

5. Support Groups

One of the best approaches used in occupational therapy to alleviate mental health issues is enrolling you in a support group.
When in a support group, you connect and interact with people with similar issues to yours, giving you a sense of belonging. It’s also relieving to listen to other people share their problems–it reminds you that other people have the same condition as yours, which can help accelerate your healing.

We Are Here for You

Are you looking for mental health support services? At Gen Physio, we have experienced and compassionate therapists who can help you improve your quality of life. Contact us today, and let our occupational therapist walk you through this challenging, but rewarding journey.

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