If you’ve sought therapy for yourself or for your child, you’ve probably thought of or been approached with the idea of medication to help treat you or your loved one’s issues. Maybe you’re ok with the idea, or maybe the thought makes you highly uncomfortable.
“What about side effects,” you ask, “or what happens when I stop taking the medication? Will I become addicted? Will the drugs even work?”
At The Traini Counseling Group, we understand that the idea of taking a medication can be scary and sometimes overwhelming. Choosing to go to therapy can be enough of a big step in itself. So why do we think it is so important to consider medication when thinking about treatment for you or your loved one’s mental illness? Let us explain.
Benefits to Combining Medication and Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Mental Illness
For particular mental illnesses, combining psychotherapy with appropriate medications can vastly improve your chances of “recovering” or feeling “normal” again. In particular, those that suffer from anxiety and/or depression respond particularly well to combined treatment. In a study conducted in 2000 written about in the New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 342, No. 20, pages 1462-1470), it was found that “[t]he combination of the two [therapies] was whoppingly more effective than either one alone” when it came to treating a group of depressed clients.
Combining treatment can also be beneficial in that medication alleviates symptoms of stress and depression more quickly. Once you reach a point with medication where you feel less overwhelmed by your symptoms, you can then focus more on your therapy and learn tools to cope if the symptoms arise again.
In particular, medication can help children perform better in school, in social settings and with their families. And, as mentioned before, once children grow and begin to learn tools to cope with their environments better through therapy, medication may or may not be needed in the future.
Ultimately, medication works best when paired with therapy as part of an overall wellness program.
Taking the Worry Out of Medication for Mental Illness
Now even though you’ve heard of the some benefits of the combination of medication and psychotherapy, you may still have your worries. And those are valid! But let us reassure you.
- What about medication side effects?
There are many antidepressants and medication options that are not dangerous for your body, have little, if any chance of causing you to develop an addiction and are less disruptive to your brain chemistry. Your prescriber or doctor always has your best interest in mind and will work with you to find a medication that works best for you.
- Will the medication even work?
Because everyone is different, how well a medication works will vary from person to person. Keep in mind, that when you work with us at The Traini Counseling Group or with a dedicated mental health professional, you will be monitored closely to see if the medication is working correctly for you. If you feel the medication is affecting adversely, we will work together to find other medication options for you.
- What if I want to stop taking medication?
That’s just fine! What we will ask is that before you stop taking any medications, you consult with your dedicated mental health professional to see if stopping your medications right away is safe, or if you will need to taper your dosage slowly to avoid adverse effects. Addinotally, along your way to mental wellness, you may reach a point where your mental health professional may suggest you are ready to stop medication.
Are You Considering Therapy or Medication?
If you are thinking about therapy or considering medication when it comes to treating your mental illness, we encourage you to get in touch. If you have any questions at all, you are always welcome to call us or email us. We’re here for you whenever you are ready.