Mental Health Services in Florida

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and act. Through childhood to adulthood years, our mental well-being is constantly being shaped.

We all experience challenging and confusing times. You may find yourself feeling lost and frustrated with the emotions you feel. If these feelings are worked through, then the problems are resolved in a healthy manner. Neglecting these emotions can lead to a variety of long-term mental health issues.

Aside from the circumstances of each individual, genetics also play a role. For example, your father may have had bipolar disorder. You may feel unbothered by this until a trigger sets you off and onsets issues you never knew existed.

The mental well-being of each person varies. That’s why it’s important to understand where any issues may be coming from. Whether it’s genetics or childhood trauma, our mental health treatment center will help you to move forward.

At 1st Step, mental well-being is not something we take lightly. It’s not just about treating addiction; it’s about treating the person as a whole. From pain, comes significant growth and learning. We believe that we can help you see that.

What are Mental Health Illnesses? 

Mental illness is also referenced to as a mental health disorder. It refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Mental illnesses can include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.

Everybody experiences complicated and sometimes unexplainable emotions from time to time. If these emotions interfere with your quality of life and day-to-day routine, that’s when it’s time to take a step back and seek help.

What are Personality Disorders?

Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that differentiates people from one another. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and genetic traits. A person’s personality typically stays the same over time. A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that causes distress and interrupts daily functioning.

There are 10 specific types of personality disorders. Psychiatrists classify these as:

  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Avoidant (or anxious) personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCDP)

Therapies for Personality Disorders

Therapy is a general term for the application of techniques used to improve a person’s mental or physical well-being. Psychotherapy is the main method used in treating personality disorders. Throwing medication at a problem without getting to the root is essentially pointless. We believe in treating our patients as a whole – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Also called “talk therapy,” our trained professionals help patients by encouraging them to talk about their condition, feelings, thoughts, mood, and behavior. Several types of psychotherapy for mental illnesses include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Family-focused therapy

What is Anxiety?

Touching upon the point from before, experiencing anxiety is normal. We all get feelings of nervousness from time to time, or when triggered by a specific situation. However, people with anxiety disorders consistently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Also, episodes of sudden feelings of intense fear and panic attacks are a painful symptom those with anxiety experience. 

These feelings of anxiety and terror get in the way of one’s ability to function normally. They can be difficult to control and out of touch with reality. For example, you may avoid places or situations that trigger these unpleasant emotions. Symptoms may start during adolescence and continue into adulthood.

Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias and separation anxiety disorder. It is possible to experience more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs medical or therapeutic attention.

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety symptoms vary from person to person. We like to emphasize that no one situation will be the same. Each individual’s journey and obstacles will vary. However, the body typically reacts in a very specific way to anxiety. 

When you experience anxiousness, your body goes on high alert, looking for possible danger and activating your fight or flight responses. Common symptoms of anxiety typically include:

  • Nervousness, restlessness, or feelings of tension
  • Feelings of danger, panic, or dread
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Repetitive (often toxic) behavior
  • Anxiety surrounding a particular life event or experience that has occurred in the past, especially indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a common side effect of anxiety. It is also referred to as an anxiety attack. It can be described by a sudden onset of fear or distress that peaks in minutes.

It generally involves experiencing at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesia)
  • Feeling detached from oneself or reality, known as depersonalization and derealization
  • Fear of “going crazy” or losing control
  • Fear of death

If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. Your mental well-being is important and must be taken care of.

Anxiety Treatment

There is no shortage of resources when it comes to treatment for anxiety. At 1st Step, we offer a variety of different therapies and medical care. In this section specifically, we’ll go over the different kinds of therapies and holistic care we offer.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a well-known method in psychotherapy. Through CBT, individuals can learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to anxious feelings. This form of psychotherapy helps people understand how their thoughts and behaviors connect.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy generally focuses on identifying symptoms of anxiety through detailed assessment and providing therapy. The main role of an occupational therapist is to correct the behavior by providing different approaches and activities.


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment for anxiety, depression and other health conditions. During acupuncture, a practitioner sticks thin, sharp needles into the upper layers of skin, at points of the body that correspond with different organs. Acupuncture works by activating natural painkilling chemicals in the brain. This can, in turn, reduce anxiety.


Yoga combines breathing techniques, meditation and stretching through both moving and stationary postures. Yoga has many benefits. It can help you appreciate the present moment more, as well as deal with inconvenient pain. 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that can be defined by extreme shifts in mood. Bipolar disorder is also referred to as bipolar disease or manic depression.

“Manic” describes an increasingly restless, energetic, talkative, reckless, powerful, euphoric period. Then, at some point, this euphoric state can spiral into something darker – irritation, confusion, anger, feeling trapped. “Depression” describes the opposite mood – sadness, crying, sense of worthlessness, loss of energy, loss of pleasure, as well as insomnia.

Bipolar Symptoms

The symptoms vary based on the episode. However, they can generally be categorized by manic and depressive episodes. Mania and hypomania are also two distinct types of episodes, but they have the same symptoms.

Manic and hypomanic episodes include three or more of these symptoms:

  • Abnormally jumpy 
  • Increased activity, energy or agitation
  • Euphoric feelings 
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unusual chattiness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Poor decision-making

A major depressive episode includes symptoms that are severe enough to cause noticeable difficulty in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships. An episode includes five or more of these symptoms:

  • Depressed mood, such as hopelessness or emptiness
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of interest or feeling no pleasure in most activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Slowed behavior or restlessness
  • Fatigue 
  • Self-loathing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide

Bipolar Treatment

At 1st Step, treatment for bipolar disorder is carefully tailored to each patient. We make sure to look over the patient’s past medical history, as well as their current state. Treatment for bipolar disorder can include a variety of different methods.

Depending on your needs, treatment may include:

  • Medications to balance mood changes
  • Day treatment programs – we offer a structured approach to treatment including daily appointments with a therapist
  • Substance abuse treatment. If you have problems with alcohol or drugs, you’ll also need substance abuse treatment
  • Hospitalization – inpatient treatment may be necessary depending on the severity of the disorder. 

What is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious mental health concern that negatively impacts how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Sadness is a normal emotion we all experience. However, depression is a consistent state in which a person feels unfulfilled, hopeless, and sad.

Depression causes feelings of unhappiness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and home.

Depression Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of depression is crucial. Understanding what you’re going through allows you to know when to seek help. Symptoms of depression generally include:

  • Difficulty focusing 
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of shame
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, such as sex
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Depression Treatment

Depression is a treatable mental illness. However, as stated by the World Health Organization, less than 50 percent of people diagnosed with depression worldwide receive treatment.

There are many ways to go about treating depression. There are lifestyle changes that can significantly improve one’s depression. At 1st Step, we offer holistic care, therapy, and much more when it comes to treating depression. 

Some types of therapy teach you practical techniques on how to reframe negative thinking and change toxic behavior habits. Therapy can also help you work through the root of your depression, helping you understand why you feel a certain way. Recognizing what triggers are causing you pain is a huge tool in combating depression.

At 1st Step, our depression treatment program will help you:

  • Build and sustain healthy relationships. Through different forms of therapy, we’ll arm you with the right tools to build healthy relationships in your life.
  • Set healthy boundaries. It’s important to know when to say no. We often clutter our lives with unnecessary things, people, and situations. Breaking out of this pattern and being intentional with your time is another powerful tool we’ll teach you. We believe in the power of talk therapy and consistently working towards a happier future through practiced techniques. 
  • Handle life’s problems. Talking with a trusted therapist will provide you with solid feedback on more positive ways to handle life’s unfavorable situations. It’s all about changing the way you react to situations. You can’t always control the situation, but you can control the response.

What is Medication Management?

Medication management therapy – or MTM – is a treatment system used by doctors and pharmacists to ensure that patients are receiving optimal medical care. Especially when prescribing medication, patients must be monitored and taken care of accordingly. 

Medication management may be advised for patients who:

  • Developed an alcohol or opioid dependence
  • Have severe cravings and/or withdrawal symptoms
  • Have a co-occurring medical or mental health disorder
  • Were abusing multiple drugs at once (poly-substance abuse)

Get Help at a Mental Health Treatment Center in Florida

If you’re struggling with mental illness, don’t shy away from getting help at 1st Step, a licensed mental health treatment center in Florida. Many people are in the same boat. No matter what struggle you’re going through, the right treatment can help propel you forward. You don’t have to experience pain forever – there are fulfillment and happiness on the other side of this challenge.
Our doors are open for you! Our mission is to help you live the life you deserve. We’ll help you get the treatment you need. Call or text 1st Step Behavioral Health at (855) 425-4846 or contact us here for more information about available programs.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.