For many physical illnesses and pains, you can get a prescription from your doctor or take an over the counter medication that makes the pain go away and makes you healthy once more. Treating mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, although there are a range of medications for days is slightly different.
Medications are unlikely to be the solitary solution that fixes your mental health concern. They can help manage symptoms, but they do not help us to make the behavioral changes that we need to truly feel our best. This is where therapy can help. When combining the two, understanding what role therapy and medication can play in mental health is the best way to reach your mental health goals.
Understanding Mental Health Medication
Many people use medication to help manage their mental health. On the other hand, many other people rely solely on psychotherapy techniques. Deciding which one is best for you is a personal decision that you will make with assistance from your therapist and psychiatrist.
What is important to know about medication is that it is not a magic tool for fixing your mental health concerns. People who experience positive results will often find that anxiety or depression comes back if they stop taking medication since they never addressed the underlying cause.
These are some of the different things that medications can do what you should rely on psychotherapy for:
- Medications Treat Symptoms – Most mental health medications work by changing chemical balances in the brain to reduce feelings of worry, sadness, and others that you experience.
- Psychotherapy Changes Thoughts and Behavior – Psychotherapy looks at underlying reasons for mental health challenges, like past trauma and cognitive distortions, and helps you make lasting changes to those thoughts and behaviors.
- Medication Will Not “Fix” the Problem – Medication will help you feel better in the moment, which is valuable, but it is not curing the issue and making it go away.
- Change is Not Possible When Symptoms are Severe – When symptoms become so severe that you cannot focus on anything else, it can be almost impossible to get in the right mindset to start making behavioral change. Medication can reduce your suffering so you have the right foundation to start making lasting change.
When you are getting started treating a mental health condition, there are many reasons to consider all of the different psychotherapy and medication options to most effectively treat your symptoms and help you overcome your challenges. If you are unsure where to begin, it is always a good choice to speak with a psychotherapist who can better assess your concerns and help you craft a treatment plan that will work for you.