Can Mental Illness Be Cured?

– Can mental disorders be cured? That’s what I’m talking about today. I’m Dr. Tracey Marks, a psychiatrist, and I make mental health education videos. I’ve been asked this
question several times, and the answer is no. Here’s the explanation. Most disorders, both mental and physical, are managed, but not cured. In medicine, we think of a cure as a total reversal of an illness to the point where
there’s no evidence of it, and it does not return. The closest we get to this
scenario is fixing a broken limb, or treating a vitamin deficiency by giving a vitamin supplement, but even things like high
blood pressure are not cured. Let’s say you develop high blood pressure because you’re overweight. Then you lose weight, and your blood pressure returns to normal. Did you cure the depression? You resolved it at the moment, but you’re still at risk for later developing high blood pressure because not everyone
who becomes overweight gets an elevated blood pressure. Some people are more susceptible to elevations in blood pressure as a response to weight gain or diet, and if that’s you, it could
happen again at a later point. Let’s look at the main mental illnesses that tend to come and go
over the course of your life, and then I’ll talk about how
they tend to look over time. The main illnesses are major
depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia. The mood disorders, like major depression
and bipolar disorder, are recurring illnesses where you have episodes that last a while and then they resolve. Some people can have chronic symptoms, but the classic picture is
that you have discrete episodes that resolve and then return. You have periods in between with either very few
symptoms or no symptoms, and when your symptoms go
away we call it remission. When your symptoms return,
we call it a relapse, so both depression and bipolar disorder are relapsing and remitting illnesses. The symptoms from these
illnesses can remit on their own even if you don’t take medication, but most times you need to take medication to treat the symptoms. When you take medication
and the symptoms go away, you’re in remission. If you stop taking the medication you can remain in remission for
weeks, months, or even years until your symptoms return. There are people with
depression who have an episode and never seem to have a
return of their depression. We still wouldn’t say
that that person is cured. They’ve just remained in remission. Why does this distinction matter? In practice, an episode
that’s in lifetime remission looks the same as one that’s cured. The difference, really, is
in how you think about it. If you think about it
as being in remission, you have some level of expectation that there’s a possibility
that it could happen again, so you could be prepared
if there is a next time. With the mood disorders, if
you have future episodes, they can become worse over time, and we refer to this
as the kindling effect. We think of kindling,
as in building a fire, and the more material you put on the fire the stronger the fire becomes, so repeated episodes, especially ones that go left untreated, can return and become
longer or harder to treat. Now, this doesn’t mean that
you have to live in fear. It just means to be aware of when you start to have
a return of your symptoms so that you can jump on it
quickly and extinguish the fire to resolve the symptoms
earlier rather than later. Anxiety disorders tend to
behave a little bit differently. Rather than being episodic, they tend to come and go
in intensity over time. It’s kind of like a wave
that crests and then recedes, so there can be periods of your life where your anxiety can feel unmanageable, and you may seek treatment for it, and then there can be periods of time where it’s not that bad. The usual is that you don’t become
completely free of anxiety. It’s just that your
symptoms are manageable, so you may have pops of
feeling tense during the day that go away for, if you were to go on a walk
or watch a movie with friends, and you’re able to bring
yourself down from that anxiety, and it’s not causing
much problems for you, but then you might have some
stressors that come along, like moving, or changing jobs, or some other life transition, and your anxiety ramps up and becomes more problematic for you. You might start losing
sleep or drinking more to bring yourself down from the anxiety. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder tends to look a little
different from anxiety over the course of your life. Generally, symptoms can
improve or nearly resolve once you become an adult, but not resolve to the point
of being completely absent. Residual ADHD symptoms can look like being a slow reader, or being disorganized
and losing things a lot, or not being a good listener. There can be little things here and there that don’t really cause
much dysfunction for you, but if you become stressed
because you’re going through a difficult period in your life, your ADH symptoms may
become more prominent. It still may never get to the level where you feel like you
need to see a psychiatrist, but you may just have
trouble getting things done, or struggling with dealing
with whatever that stress is, but then once the stress passes, you’re back to your usual functional self with a few issues here and there. That’s one way that ADHD can
progress over your lifetime, but there are people whose ADHD symptoms don’t improve a lot as
they become an adult. They’re just as symptomatic as an adult as they were when they were a child, but what can happen is that
over time you learn to adapt, and to recognize your weaknesses
such that you avoid things that you know that you’re not good at, and you spend more time doing
things that you can do well, and that’s the ideal scenario
in the adult with ADHD. Schizophrenia tends to look
more like a series of plateaus. A person can start out
with somewhat mild symptoms that don’t always look like schizophrenia, and then at some point in their life the symptoms fully manifest. I did a video explaining schizophrenia, and I’ll put a link in the description and in the corner of this video so that you can watch
that video after this one, but the usual course with
schizophrenia is that once the symptoms fully manifest, a person can remain at that
level of illness severity for a while, and that can be years, and then at some point there’s a decline, and the symptoms increase. You may get more medication added, but that seems to be your new baseline, and this is especially the case
for the cognitive symptoms, so instead of having this
gradual deterioration, which some people can have, there’s this stepwise downward trend. The good news about this pattern is that the interval in between the steps can be very long, like years, so someone who develops
the disorder at 25, and then lives until they’re 75, may have three or four steps downward. I hope this helps you understand the outlook of mental disorders
and how they’re not cured, but the symptoms are treated in a way that they can be
completely absent or minimal. For more information on mental
health and self-improvement, subscribe to my channel. I publish new videos every Wednesday. See you next time.

100 thoughts on “Can Mental Illness Be Cured?

  1. Hello Dr. Marks) Everything you talked about is so true i see this in family friend's also myself.. You are right. I remember in another video you talked about have different symptoms depending on the time of yea on how you feel with certain disorders . And that is so true because in the fall and winter I'm happy & when Spring and Summer come around I'm sad my anxiety kick in because I have to be around more people.. I so appreciate everything what you do for this community of People like myself who need a doctor like you 🙏 online this is so much appreciated💓

  2. Dr. Tracey Marks, if one day mental illnesses, or the propensity to have a mental illness, could one day be fully detected while a fetus is in utero through amniocentesis or some other type of diagnostic test and the fetus could be treated either with hormones, gene therapy, or a combination of the two before birth, could then this be considered a “cure?” I suppose depression and anxiety could never be a preventable disease since life events can be the primary source of these disorders. My best friend’s older brother suffers with schizophrenia and it makes me feel hopeless knowing he’ll never not suffer from schizophrenia again.

  3. Also doctor Mark.. Last week you talk about different signs of suicide you talked about feeling's thinking and acting out on them.. what people & think are two different things . how to if you're suicidal or just need someone to talk with because of your thoughts. and I shared the video with a lot of my family and friend's and it was so insightful and helpful just want to say thank you again.

  4. Can mental illness be cured by man? No. Can mental illness be cured by God? Yes. I was hoping you would give us hope. My hope is in God and one day, yes I will be healed.

  5. Thanks for answering this question so clearly. When I'm ill, I blame myself for my depression. When I'm feeling well, I can recognize my depression as a chronic health condition that can be managed and can stay in remission for years at a time. No one would blame a diabetic for needing insulin, nor should we blame someone with a mental illness for requiring treatment.

  6. Interesting video, Dr. Marks. Can you please so a video discussing benzodiazepine withdrawal? I've been going through it for some time now and it's horrible. Thanks

  7. I always relapse whenever my meds run out what can I do to prevent the relapse coz its always worse than before?Thanks Dr Marks.

  8. Hello, I don't know if I misunderstood this videos but this video gives me anxiety and hopeless, I had mixed anxiety/depressing disorder and medication is working very well , so this means this anxiety won't decrease over time ? I'm really worried now even when I felt better just for what you said

  9. Without a doubt, the best professional in this field that I know of. After 30 plus years of experience as a tossed about guinea pig…. FINALLY, someone that actually explains. AND… someone who answers. I wish we'd had YouTube in the 80s lol

  10. Hi Dr Marks,
    Another great video. Well I knew there was no cure for my bipolar disorder but I know I can manage my symptoms with antipsychotics. Maybe one day they’ll come out with a magic pill wouldn’t that be nice 👍.
    Have a great week.
    General repair

  11. Maybe it's a stupid question, but does "having no symptoms of depression" mean being happy? I don't think so, but how to differanciate a normal sadness with a sadness staying from a previous depression, without being as intense?

  12. the fundamental Natural surroundings and all that which they contain appear to my eyes as having a surging and violent aspect, and people appear funny and meager with their usual civil manner, Doctor there is something aberrant about the neurological makeup of those who witness the "Absurd" in life's providence?

  13. So once you have an illness you are more likely going to be dealing with it all of your life, off and on,thank you for the video and valued information.
    Sounds like if you wash your hands and you dry them you need to re moisturize them so your hands want be dry

  14. I feel the same way about social and criminal pathology. You will never stamp out theft, murder, assault, and fraud, but you can manage them down to reasonable risk factors instead of the undoing of a civilization. Racism, sexism, and xenophobia are with us forever, but they can be an irritable grain in your shoe or one lodged in your eye.

  15. It’s ironic that I see this video 🙂 I just was told yesterday by my therapist that I am in impartial remission from my depression right now 🙂 it’s not a cure but I am very happy that I made really good progress

  16. My depression and anxiety are a mixture of The Doors and Adele's song "Light my fire" and "Set fire to the rain". While my bonfire at the beach resembles Mount Etna, I can see my anxiety rolling like the waves: by January they roll like the waves in winter in the North Sea and by December they are like a Tsunami. Ps: Living for that shirt of yours 😍

  17. My life is at a chaos right now and your calm voice (even saying that my problems can relapse now and then) just soothes me so much!!! Thank you so so much! :')

  18. Love the topics get asked this a lot, it’s a fight but worth the fight. Thankfully there are good doctors out there and with some trial and error with meds we can make it through and live the best possible life. Love your channel and the topics you cover. Always find inspiration for my channel here.

  19. Disagree… God can fully heal in some cases…
    In gentleness I say, as politely as possible, that hope is being estinguished here…so sad 😔
    Danger is believing that there is no hope or future… And therefore result in a different extra deterioration..
    Know in a most cases this full healing never happens though

  20. Thank you for this video. It is obvious that it depends what we call a mental disorder. Let’s say somebody has a clinical form of mild anxiety or depression only because they go through a difficult period in their life. Is it possible that a human being is absolutely resistant to adverse life events, that they never develop any sort of psychiatric reaction to those events? I think it's impossible. So some psychiatric symptoms (basically mood symptoms and certainly not psychotic symptoms, unless the person takes hallucinogenic drugs) look like an expected reaction to adverse environmental factors. People with those mild symptoms often don't even need medication. Can these symptoms be cured only by solving life's problems? I think yes. Of course, the situation is completely different for somebody who has an “idiopathic” form of a mental disorder, actually caused by genetics and epigenetics (if the latter cannot be corrected simply by correcting the environment). Can it be cured with current therapeutic approaches? Not really, as for these persons etiology is deep inside their cells’ workings. I believe we will be able to discover some means to correct the consequences of their genetic and epigenetic errors, but for sure we are not there yet.

  21. Is there something for not having emotions like.. Maybe it's my depression but do y'all have something that can make you feel good feel like you're alive and or feel more energy and like make your body feel good? Because thats me like I can't feel like I use to when I was a teen. So it's sad. Lol. Help me with this?. Thaaank youu.

  22. So looking at statistics of depression and anxiety in our society we conclude that humans are permanently mentally sick species?

  23. Dr Marks,
    I love your channel. I have a unique question and situation. I have OCD and I currently work as a therapist. The demands of the job being a 1099 worker with being responsible for everything with no healthcare, benefits etc. I owe over 100 grand in student loans. I get major anxiety thinking everything will go wrong or I could get blamed being a contract worker. I know it's my OCD but ever since I started this field 3 years ago I feel super anxious. I'm not sure what to do? Any tips wouod be appreciated. Thanks.

  24. I’ve lived most of my life with a mental illness unbeknownst to me. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 at the age of 58 after going through a three month long intensive therapy program following a severe life threatening depression. (First and only episode, I hope)
    I was shocked and upset by the diagnoses initially, then I gradually accepted it. Looking back on my life, I truly believe I was more resilient because of the positive attributes associated with being bipolar. I maybe weird, but I feel grateful to have that chemical make-up…warts and all. 😃

  25. I had a peer support person who would always tell me that I can be cured from being bipolar and everytime she said that I wanted to laugh in her face and say she was delusional because I know being bipolar I will never be cured. I knew I may have okay moments but being cured will never happen. I think people like her should watch this video. I don't communicate with her and more

  26. in mine and my dad's opinion ptsd c ptsd is not a illness in are opinion it is just an extreme reaction to 1 or repeated traumas but that not fact it's just are opinion

  27. This makes sense, and I believe your explanation is accurate, but I always find it discouraging to think about it this way. I have tried very hard to be "cured" with just therapy and thought I was doing that for years, but it doesn't work that way with bipolar, and it has become very clear in the past 5 years that the kindling effect has taken a toll over time. Now, I feel the opposite way, like I won't ever be stable again at this point. I often wish psychiatry were more "user-friendly".

  28. Hi dr Tracey Mark's I just been diagnosed with schizoactive disorder bypolar type can you tell me about quietapine medication thankyou

  29. Respected Ma'am ! Luv 4m INDIA. I hav bn suffrng 4m somatization symptoms disorder. Daily headaches 24/7 ,burning sensation in throat & mouth and weakness. I don't understand hw much time I sleep, still feels tired n headaches on wake up.. I feel same with or without medicine. I found medicine can't help me.. please Ma'am help me out .. I wanna back my healthy n happy life 😔😔😔😔😔

  30. Hello! I have a question. My mother who is bi polar and medicated living happily for year's. Closing in on her 70's, her doc has reduced her medications and she has been stable for years now. Can female post menopause help mental health? She says her body naturally feels calmer (she has always been more manic than depressed).

  31. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until I was 23. I’ve had severe depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember but my psychiatrist nor I ever considered ADHD being comorbid. After seeing a new psychiatrist he wanted me to be evaluated for ADHD. After testing I definitely realized how my functioning is impaired as a result. Now since being on medication for ADHD, my anxiety has lessened enormously my seemingly medication resistant depression is in remission, while on a stimulant. I cried at my last appointment because I’ve never felt so put together and functional

  32. Hi Dr Tracy
    Which mental health illness is causing nonepileptic seizers
    Which followed with purp and noises
    And how to prevent these seizers
    What the right medication
    My deep gratitude 🙏

  33. Hi. Thanks for the information. Isn't it possible to deactivate the bipolar genes? I was reading about epigenetics the other day.

  34. Thank you! I’d heard about Bipolar type I that if you don’t have an episode in 5 years that you’re less likely to have another one. Given that you’re taking medicine. Is that a myth?

  35. Hi Dr.Marks.I have a question.Is it possible with depression to go off prescription meds.(I am working with a psychiatrist) and am in therapy.I have been working very hard with both of them.

  36. I have a question for Dr. Tracey Marks. I’m 47 yrs old and a month ago I was diagnosed with ADHD. So my question is do I always have to be seeing a psychiatrist every month to get my medication? Since I have no health insurance and I have to pay from my own packet.

    I’m actually happy and glad that I found out that I have ADHD because my life has improved a lot and the med is like a booster for my brain to function well.
    Thank you for all your videos and valuable information you share with us! 💕💕💕

  37. Me personally I may be wrong but it seems like psychiatry is making every human emotion a disorder if your too happy it's something wrong with that if you don't feel like doing something for a week or so it's something wrong with that everybody is different like a finger print it's impossible that every one is going to behave the same way when I was growing up my granny use to say her nerves is bad today and didn't think nothing of it today they call it anxiety Wich I think that term is waaay overused in the 70s and 80s it wasn't no we're near as many cases of sole called mental health issues until the end of the 90s and 2000 I still believe all these issues stem from alot of chemicals in the food and invironment there is no way over a million plus people got the basically the same exact symptoms and we're all different individuals nope not buying it and if the brain is not functioning properly in my theory I would consider that physical because something is actually happening and not made up in the head awesome videos tho keep up the good work

  38. Especially with illnesses such as bi-polar and schizophrenia, it is a chemical imbalance of the brain. There has, to date, not a cure found. It is actually a physiological illness that manifests itself into a mental illness. What so many people dont understand is, it is a "physical" illness, just as is diabetes. How it presents itself, however, is where it becomes a problem and a stigma. There is no cure, only management of the illness.

  39. So if remission is a natural part of the depression journey, why do psychiatrists push pills throughout that portion of the journey? Can you talk about the best time to take these pills?

  40. OMG NO !! guys please do not believe that, you can heal ! This is a conflicting topic between practicioners, some say you can't other say you can it depends an how good they are with their patients ! The rock, his mother, Jada Smith healed from depression, Dennis simsek, my ex-girlfriend healed from Anxiety and I have so many random example of random people who did, this is outrageous ! You should be ashamed mam ! Proof : Quote from Dennis Simsek "Nowadays I meditate 2×20 min, and during the day "I don't have any thoughts" except when I ask myself "What is fun about this" ". Jada Smith "I don't get depressed anymore" Random girl on TedTalk: " I went from "I'll never be happy" to "I can be happy sometimes" to "I'll be happy forever" and you can do it too"
    Dr. Marks, shame on you

  41. A bit sad to hear this, however have grown to trust what you say and to focus on the beneficial things such as management of anxiety. Thanks!

  42. thanks doctor tracy for this informative video. depression is reccuring illnessses. i have a question . do antidepressants resist depression to relapse after remission if somone stay on his Medicfation after remission. i heard from psychiatrist that taking Medication resist depression to return or come back after remission

  43. Thank you for the clarification. I always thought when I felt better that meant I was cured and I would stop taking my meds. I would have an episode and it would be worse than the last because I didn't stay on treatment. I didn't get it then but I get it now. I'm not cured just because I start to feel good.

  44. So true. I'm on a cocktail of meds for my bipolar disorder type 1 with rapid cycling,my PTSD,and my blood pressure. My meds make me feel human. I have been doing so much better…I went years without meds,and I regret it. Latuda and other meds have made my life better. I mentally got to a point where my emotions took control of everything and every choice. Now I think with more logic. My emotional rollercoaster ruled my life for a good chunk of it. I am thankful for your videos.

  45. I’m nearly 40. I have anxiety disorder with panic attacks and sensory processing issues – very painful and unbearable. Lexapro did not suit me, especially jaw clenching, restlessness and sleeping problem. I’m on sertraline, sodium valproate and olanazapine now. I take valium on occasional basis. They are working, but I hope they will eliminate all the symptoms as much as possible.

    I’d like to ask you to upload a video on sensory processing disorder in adult. There’s little information on adults with SPD on the Internet, unfortunately.

  46. Dear Dr. Marks
    I love your channel and I watch each and every video you post. They're so helpful! 💛 If I could request a topic for the new video, that would be Medication Resistance and Tolerance Build-up /or something along the lines/. I recently got prescribed Zoloft to help with my anxiety and depression, and it works pretty great. However, I'm afraid I might build up tolerance to it someday. I would love to learn more about this, especially if you can give stories or examples from your own practise.
    Much love, Rory 💛

  47. Precise. Clear. Exact. Perfect articulation. Not one irrelevant syllable. No ambiguity. I quite literally understood all of what you intended that I should all the way from the beginning of the video to the end of it. You know how to make maximal use of your natural abilities. Your video presentations are the best that I've seen. Thank you for filling in more of those gaps in my knowledge and understanding. My best to you Dr. Marks.

  48. Long time ago I was told by a psychiatrist,
    "Think of it like this, Its like a forest fire you just manage the fire" …great advice…

  49. Really well done video, thank you for sharing this information! I’m really wondering how this applies in the case of PTSD?

  50. What percentage of people recover completely from MDD episode without any residual symptom?? Star*d study show only 50-60%. What's your experience in practice?I haven't seen one. Can u plz share recovery stories of patients who got out of severe depression?

  51. Where are you from? I went to a lot of doctors in my country and they gave me different names to my problem like deficit of attencion and others but i do not know what is my problem in real. Some people speaks to me things like you are crazy. I would like you Speak to me my problem. Sorry for my english, i am learning yet.

  52. Hi Dr. Marks, thank you so much for the great videos you put out! For mental health disorders that are properly managed, what do the later years of life look like for us? Bipolar 1 in my case. I have heard that mania and depression can be much worse and that there can be major problems from a lifetime of taking medication.

  53. 1.what is the best profession for people who suffering from anxiety disorder?? 2.will you tell any most successful people in studies with anxiety disorder is this possible 3.Getting good job helps the person free from anxiety disorder??? 4.How to avoid this anxiety genes with next generation??? Pls make a video mam if ur free thank u

  54. its really break my heart, im suffering from depression anxiety and bipolar. i was okay 2 months ago after i get threatment then something bad happen again and it triggers me. i want to see my psychologist but my parents are not supportive about it. they really want their kid to be sane without doctor needed but the one who make me crazy is them

  55. Hi Dr Tracy,
    Thankyou for your videos they're helping me during a difficult time
    I am currently starting treatment for major depression/possible bipolar 2 disorder and I was wondering if it would be possible to persue and a career in psychology/psychiatry with this illness. Going through these trouble times has resparked an old love of psychology, psychiatry and helping others through life's difficulties, but I was worried that there would be issues with me treating people if I myself had a diagnosed mental illness.

  56. Dr.Tracey Marks.Please do a video on the fear of developing scizophrenia or psychosis(pure OCD).Why people with this disorder can not actually develop psychosis?

  57. Why are people who can develope some sort of psychosis or scizophrenia not able to have this fear? Let's say they haven't unlocked the illness yet. Is it possible for them to think about the fact they may develop it at some point? What if I fear it now and actually start developing it later in life?

  58. Hi Dr. Tracey Marks, thank you a lot for your videos,
    i'm medical student, and you helped me a lot to understand psychiatric disorders more and more.
    I want to ask you about Bipolar disorder, does it associate with violence or self-harm or not? it's associated or it's symptom or there is even any relation between them or not…?

  59. My depression was due to Gut imbalance…more i healed my Gut more the depression went, is there but much more less , so i think the answer is what created it the first time.

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