MANILA – The best treatment for mental health conditions is a combination of medication and therapy, a health expert said Friday.

During an online media "Kapihan" forum, National Center for Mental Health medical specialist Rodney Boncajes said therapy helps in the full recovery of individuals with such conditions.

“Sa personal experience sa clinic, mas mataas ang relapse rate nung mga indibidwal na naggagamot lang kasi the symptoms or damage is nababawasan lang ([In my] personal experience at the clinic, the relapse rate of individuals who only take medications are higher because their symptoms or damage are only lessened),” he said.

“If the problem is how they see, or perceive the environment, hindi ‘yun napa-process (it is not processed) through appropriate therapy session so the tendency is there is relapse when they are again exposed to a difficult situation or to a stressor,” he added.

Republic Act 11036 or An Act Establishing a National Mental Health Policy defines mental health conditions as neurologic or psychiatric conditions characterized by the existence of recognizable and clinically significant disturbances specifically in the cognition, emotion and behavior which affect the functionality of an individual.

Mental health conditions include neurodevelopmental disorders and other childhood disorders; neurocognitive disorders; substance use and addictive disorders; schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders; mood disorders (bipolar disorder and depressive disorders); anxiety disorders; trauma-and-stressor-related disorders; feeding and eating disorders; and sleep-wake disorders.

These conditions could be treated through proper clinical management involving psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, psychiatric rehabilitation and other interventions, consultations with other disciplines, other somatic therapies, and levels of care.

Under psychopharmacology, some medicines are used for the treatment of mental conditions. They are antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anxiolytics, stimulants, drugs used to treat sleep disorders, and drugs used to treat substance use disorders.

“May mga condition na hindi kailangan ng medication pero ‘yung therapy indicated. (There are conditions that do not need meication, but the therapy is indicated). There are times when therapeutic intervention ng psychotherapy is more advantageous,” Boncajes said.

Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, brief psychodynamic psychotherapy, family therapy and couples therapy, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, vocational rehabilitation, social skills rehabilitation, and genetic counseling are some of the methods that can be done besides medication.

“Mas importante rin po maagapan ang ganung klase ng kondisyon kaya yung mga indibidwal na kailangan ng makakausap or tulong na propesyunal, mag-reach out po sila sa NCMH hotline na bukas 24 oras (It is more important to prevent such types of condition so those who need someone to talk to or professional help, please reach out to the NCMH hotline which is open 24 hours),” he added. (PNA)