Written by Van Tran

You must be wondering what can be done for these mental illnesses. In fact, multiple medications and therapies have been researched and proven effective in treating these conditions. To treat your condition effectively, your provider will need to evaluate your symptoms thoroughly and identify what medication and/or therapy will apply to you. Treatment and recovery look different for everyone. Your treatment might include medication, therapy, community support groups, faith support, etc. Finding what works for you might take time, but there is hope.

These are some common treatments for mental health conditions. A treatment plan should always be made with the help of a mental health professional.


For most conditions, medications will be prescribed to manage symptoms. The response to medication varies from person to person. Medications work by affecting your brain chemicals and thus, can cause side effects. When taking medication, it is very important to monitor your symptoms and report to your providers, especially if you have any concerns. Here are the types of medications commonly used and how they work.


Condition Medication How They Work
Bipolar Disorder Antipsychotics Help with mania/hypomania episodes by inhibiting the action of dopamine neurotransmitters that are responsible for excitement and motivation
Mood Stabilizers Maintain a steady mood by reducing the excitation of the neurons in the brain through different mechanisms
Antidepressants Help with depressive episodes by enhancing or inhibiting different types of neurotransmitters that are responsible for the happy and motivated feelings
Borderline Personality Disorder Not the first line of treatment. N/A
Depression Antidepressants Help alleviate depression by enhancing or inhibiting different types of neurotransmitters that are responsible for the happy and motivated feelings
ADHD Stimulants Increase focus and reasoning by directly enhancing dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters activities
Non-stimulants Increase focus and reasoning by indirectly enhancing dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters activities
Certain Antidepressants Increase focus and maintain a steady mood by enhancing dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin neurotransmitters activities

Learn more about different types of medication for mental health conditions.


Therapy is usually prescribed in conjunction with medications. For borderline personality disorder, therapy is the treatment of choice.  Here are common available therapies:

Type of Therapy Therapy Condition
Psychotherapy Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, ADHD
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Borderline Personality Disorder
Interpersonal Therapy Depression
Phototherapy Light Therapy SAD, Bipolar
Brain stimulation procedures Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulant Bipolar
Electroconvulsive Therapy Bipolar, Depression

Let’s explore how each of these therapies works.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

In this therapy session, you will engage in a conversation with a therapist to identify unhelpful thoughts and how they affect your behaviors. The therapist will help you explore those thoughts deeper and correct your inaccurate perceptions.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a form of CBT but requires more involvement from both you and the therapist. The therapist is your coach. You will learn to recognize negative thoughts and behaviors first. The next step is to accept them. Finally, you will identify effective ways to monitor your symptoms and develop a personal strategy to cope with them.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

In IPT, the therapist plays a support person role that validates your feelings and provides reassurance. The therapist will help you identify some problem areas that you want to work on and come up with some doable tasks to correct those problems. Then, you will need to take action to achieve those tasks. At the end of the therapy course, you will feel more empowered and in control.

Light Therapy

Light therapy works by influencing your body’s circadian rhythm and the serotonin level in your brain. The circadian rhythm is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle and your mood while a higher level of serotonin helps you feel happier. A session consists of getting lots of bright light from a box that mimics natural light.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulants (rTMS)

rTMS is a procedure that uses magnetic pulses to influence the natural electrical activity in the brain. It targets certain areas of your brain that is responsible for emotion control and thus, helps improve your mood.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ETC)

ETC is another noninvasive and pain-free procedure that is done by delivering a small amount of electricity to your brain through electrodes. It helps stimulate your brain by changing the chemistry and the way the nerves communicate.

Learn more about different kinds of psychotherapy.

Seeking treatment is a courageous step toward becoming a better version of yourself. As you go through this journey, you may have doubts and negative feelings. At these times, remember that your mental illness does not define who you are. It is just part of you. And by continuing to adhere to a treatment plan that works for you, you have a very high chance to be successful in your very own journey.

Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all, do not be discouraged. If you have questions about mental health conditions, the mental health care system, or where to find support reach out to our Helpline. Call or text (425)-298-5315 or email helpline@namiseattle.org.

If you or a loved one are in crisis, call or text 988 the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

By Van Tran, R.N.

I am a registered-nurse-turned writer. I want to help shape healthcare into a system where meaningful relationships are built among consumers, employees, and businesses that are based on mutual benefits and respect.

Equipped with not only ample clinical knowledge but also an understanding of consumers’, workers’, and management’s perspectives, I now aspire to spread the knowledge and bring healthcare businesses closer to their consumers. I decided to use the power of writing to achieve this ambition.