What are the techniques used in the rehabilitation of the mentally ill?
The treatment of psychological disorders has two components, i.e. reduction of symptoms, and improving the level of functioning or quality of life. In the case of milder disorders such as generalised anxiety, reactive depression or phobia, reduction of symptoms is associated with an improvement in the quality of life. However, in the case of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, reduction of symptoms may not be associated with an improvement in the quality of life. Many patients suffer from negative symptoms such as disinterest and lack of motivation to do work or to interact with people.
The aim of rehabilitation is to empower the patient to become a productive member of society to the extent possible. In rehabilitation, the patients are given occupational therapy, social skills training, and vocational therapy. In occupational therapy, the patients are taught skills such as candle making, paper bag making and weaving to help them to form a work discipline. Social skills training helps the patients to develop interpersonal skills through role play, imitation and instruction. The objective is to teach the patient to function in a social group. Cognitive retraining is given to improve the basic cognitive functions of attention, memory and executive functions. After the patient improves sufficiently, vocational training is given wherein the patient is helped to gain skills necessary to undertake productive employment.