While you might think of occupational therapy (OT) as something that mainly benefits the physically disabled, OT can also be of immense benefit to people suffering from mental health problems like bipolar disorder and depression. Working with a skilled occupational therapist can help you more completely understand your own capabilities to work, perform the activities of daily living and generally take care of yourself. It can also help you establish your goals for mental illness treatment, and determine which environmental and lifestyle adjustments and adaptations are necessary to help you live a full life while managing your mental illness.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy includes treatments that help you recover or develop and maintain your living and work skills. In addition to skills related to your career and professional life, occupational treatment can also help you build the skills necessary to navigate every aspect of daily life, from taking care of yourself physically to managing your money, nurturing your relationships and pursuing personal fulfillment. The goal of occupational treatment is to help you live as meaningful and full a life as possible.
Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Mental Health
People who suffer from mental illness often have difficulty managing the tasks of daily living, much less pursuing personal and professional fulfillment. If you struggle with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or another mental illness, you’ve no doubt experienced times when you’ve struggled to prepare meals for yourself, maintain personal hygiene, take care of your house, nurture your friendships and relationships and meet the demands of your job or education. You may have trouble concentrating or remembering things, maintaining appropriate routines, or taking pleasure in things you once enjoyed. OT can help with all of that.
With the help of an occupational therapist, you can gain a deeper understanding of the true limitations your mental illness places on your ability to function in society and care for yourself. Goals for treatment might include such things as establishing a regular routine for sleeping, eating, bathing and exercising. OT can help you develop the skills you need to manage your money, hold down a job and advance in your career, communicate effectively with those around you, and set realistic life goals for both the long and short terms.
Your occupational therapist may recommend that you make adjustments to your home and work environments, just as you would if you suffered from a physical disability. For example, if you have trouble remembering things, OT might help you learn to write things down. If you’re struggling with intense emotions, OT might help you develop some coping mechanisms. Your family and caregivers might also benefit from occupational therapy education about your condition and your special needs.
OT can also help you monitor your response to any psychoactive medications you may be on, so you can find the dosages and medications that work for you more quickly. By helping you to establish healthy routines, habits, and coping skills, OT can also protect you from a mental illness relapse.
Paying for Occupational Therapy
Most insurance companies will pay for OT for mental illness, but many will assume, at first, that you are seeking OT for a physical disability or for physical rehabilitation. If there is confusion with your insurance company, our occupational therapists can explain the purpose of your treatment and the role of OT in mental health rehabilitation to your insurance company. Once they understand your condition and the value of OT for treating mental illness, most insurance companies are receptive to covering the costs.
Occupational therapists typically collaborate with other professionals as part of an integrated and comprehensive treatment process. You will also receive mental health treatment from a psychotherapist and medical treatment from a psychiatrist. Working together, the team can help you gain control over your mental illness symptoms and return to a happy, healthy way of life.
Occupational therapy is just one of many services we offer to help our clients recover from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders. If you or someone you love is suffering, there’s no time like the present to seek help.
Call us today at 888-415-0708.