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Treatment of Mental Illnesses: Spiritual vs Physical.

Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. In exploring alternative approaches to mental health, it is first important to understand what mental illness actually is. Most psychiatric survivors reject the term “mental illness” altogether, as it supports what is considered the “medical model” of mental health. [1]

Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function.

A mental illness can make you miserable and can cause problems in your daily life, such as at school or work, or in relationships. [1]

Treatment of mental illness

Mental illness can be treated in different ways depending on the illness being treated, the person treating it, and the preferences of the client/patient. Some of them are:

  1. Psychotherapy - Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. It is used to help people who are facing emotional struggles or have a mental illness. psychotherapy may also increase an individual’s quality of life or make the person feel better even without presenting with a mental illness.

  1. Medication - Medication doesn’t cure mental illness on its own but plays an important part in managing it. It is often used alongside psychotherapy to manage mental illnesses.

  1. Case management - this is the usage of primary and community-based services to provide a rounded, holistic mental health management for an individual. case management technique focuses on all the factors around a person - social, biological, environmental, and financial.

  1. Hospitalization - This form of treatment is not very common. It is done either at the request of the individual living with a mental illness, his/her relatives, or by a mental health professional. it allows close monitoring of the individual so that they can be efficiently diagnosed and have their medications made suitable for them.

  1. The support group is a group meeting where attendees have honest conversations about their emotions, feelings, and behavior. A professional can lead the session but anyone who has experienced a mental health condition can also facilitate the session.

  1. Complementary & Alternative Medicine, or CAM, refers to treatment and practices that do not follow the normal medical treatment plan or route. Practices include massage, acupuncture, tai chi, and drinking green tea.

  2. Peer Support - This is when a group of people with shared experiences come together either in person or virtually to share their experiences, connect, and try to heal.

Depending on religious beliefs, culture, society, and personal preferences, we all have different ways of dealing with mental illnesses either by spiritual means or physical means.

Spiritual vs Physical


Mental health is not merely the absence of a mental disorder. It exists on a continuum to include flourishing mental health, very good mental health, mean mental health, decreased mental health, mental health problems, and mental health disorders. [2]

Mental health is a topic of growing interest in society. Various mental health organizations are engaged in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of persons with mental health problems and disorders.

Exercise is an evidence-based treatment for people with mental health issues, and physical therapists work with people who may have mental health issues alongside other long-term health issues.

The benefits of physical activity are twofold, as people with mental health problems are also at an increased risk of a range of physical health problems, including cardiovascular diseases, endocrine disorders, and obesity. Physical activity influences cognition and cardiorespiratory fitness and reduces dropout due to a wide range of mental health problems. The relationship between physical activity and mental health has been widely investigated. [3]

Unfortunately, physiotherapy is not always considered to be a significant profession within mental health because the role and the added value it offers can remain unclear among patients and other health care providers. However, physiotherapy is a recognized conventional profession within health care and can offer an extensive range of physical approaches (physical activity, exercise, movement, relaxation techniques, and body and movement awareness). These approaches are aimed at symptom relief, the enhancement of self‐confidence, and the improvement of quality of life. Additionally, they are relevant to rehabilitation programs in mental health care.

On that note, some physiotherapists work under the department of psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. This form of physiotherapy is person-centered and provided for children, adolescents, adults, and older people with common (mild, moderate) and severe, acute and chronic mental health problems, in primary and community care, inpatients, and outpatients [3]


Spirituality is a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves—it helps a person look within and understand themselves while also figuring out the greater answer of how they fit into the rest of the world. In other words: It helps people understand their interpretation of the meaning of life.[4] Spirituality also incorporates healthy practices for the mind and body, which positively influences mental health and emotional wellbeing. [4]

Spirituality is a globally acknowledged concept. It involves belief and obedience to an all-powerful force usually called God, who controls the universe and the destiny of man. It involves the ways in which people fulfill what they hold to be the purpose of their lives, a search for the meaning of life, and a sense of connectedness to the universe. The universality of spirituality extends across creed and culture.

At the same time, spirituality is very much personal and unique to each person. It is a sacred realm of human experience. Spirituality produces in man qualities such as love, honesty, patience, tolerance, compassion, a sense of detachment, faith, and hope. Of late, there are some reports which suggest that some areas of the brain, mainly the nondominant one, are involved in the appreciation and fulfillment of spiritual values and experiences.[5]

In the spiritual perspective, a differentiation must be made between cure and healing. The cure is the removal of symptoms. Healing is the healing of the whole person. Adversity often produces maturity. Hence in psychotherapy, the patient must be helped to accept the handicap and transform the handicap to a life of usefulness.


  1. Mental illness - Symptoms, and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2020 [cited 1 December 2020]. Available from:

  2. Probst M. Physiotherapy and Mental Health [Internet]. 2020 [cited 1 December 2020]. Available from: http:///

  3. Mental Health, Physical Activity, and Physical Therapy [Internet]. Physiopedia. 2020 [cited 1 December 2020]. Available from:,_Physical_Activity_and_Physical_Therapy#cite_note-:0-2

  4. The Mental Health Benefits of Religion & Spirituality | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness [Internet]. 2020 [cited 1 December 2020]. Available from:


  6. 6. Verghese A. Spirituality and mental health. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2008;50(4):233.

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1 Comment

Aug 01, 2022

Good readiing your post

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