Mental health care and treatment

However, mental health professionals are able to recognise patterns of symptoms in a person’s behaviour or mood as an indication a specific problem or disorder, enabling them to make a diagnosis and prescribe a suitable course of treatment.

Most types of mental distress or mental illness fall into one of two main types: psychosis or neurosis.

Examples of psychotic illness include schizophrenia and bipolar (affective) disorder (or manic depression), while examples of neurosis include depression, severe anxiety.

The term psychosis is used when someone has disordered thoughts, delusional beliefs or hallucinations. They may lose touch with reality and not realise they are unwell. Someone suffering with neurosis is less likely to lose touch with reality and would often know they are unwell. However, people can experience a wide range of individual symptoms, which can fall into both distinctions.

People with mental health problems can find that they are given a different diagnosis from time to time. This could be because they have more than one condition or their symptoms have changed, but it may also be because a new doctor disagrees with the earlier diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis

The term dual diagnosis is used to refer to a person with two conditions, and does not specify the disorders. Therefore if someone has a dual diagnosis, they could have:

  • Mental health and substance misuse problems
  • Learning disability and mental health problems

Support for people with a dual diagnosis used to be provided for by two or more different service providers, for example substance misuse and mental health. However, services are developing to provide specialist care to meet the complex needs of the service user.