For people dealing with mental and emotional challenges, both medication and psychotherapy, as well as a combination of the two, have the potential to help.
Deciding which treatment route best suits you can be complicated. As you make your decision, there are a couple of essential factors to consider.
First, different mental health disorders respond differently to each treatment. Depression, anxiety, and other challenges should be approached individually when choosing between medication and psychotherapy. Second, the effectiveness of different treatments often depends on the patient, so you should consider personal variables and traits when deciding which treatment to pursue.
In addition to understanding the differences between medication and psychotherapy, be sure to discuss your treatment plan with a psychiatric professional. Continue reading for more information about the benefits of medication and therapy.
Pros and Cons of Psychotropic Medication
Depression and anxiety medications have become increasingly popular and are among the most prescribed drugs worldwide today. While it is fortunate that these medications are no longer considered taboo, it is equally important to note that they are not a guaranteed cure for mental illness. Further, there are drawbacks to psychotropic medications.
As mentioned above, medications for depression, anxiety, and other mental or emotional challenges work differently for each person. Even after significant research, prescribing these medications often involves trial and error. This means patients may need to try several different medications before they experience significant symptom relief.
Another drawback of psychotropic medication is that the patient may fear side effects such as addiction or changes in their personality. While personality changes are highly unlikely when the medication is taken correctly, physical dependence has been reported. It can also be difficult for patients who experience symptom relief to stop taking their medication, as they are concerned about their depression, anxiety, or other issues returning.
Still, there are several benefits of psychotropic medication over psychotherapy. For one, medications are, in general, significantly cheaper. Psychotherapy usually has a more expensive baseline cost and may be only partially covered or not covered at all by insurance. Medication, on the other hand, is often completely covered under insurance.
Another benefit is that, especially for people with severe and debilitating symptoms, psychotropic medications can offer much quicker relief.
Pros and Cons of Psychotherapy
Treatment through therapy teaches patients methods for dealing with mental and emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. These methods include identifying the negative thoughts about how people view themselves, their lives, and the world around them and altering those thoughts to become positive. They also help patients identify the roots of their issues and the factors that trigger or amplify negative, anxious, and destructive thoughts.
Because these methods teach lifetime tools and different mindsets, psychotherapy has shown longer-lasting results than psychotropic medication. It provides people with the necessary mechanisms for seeing themselves and the world in a more positive light and coping with anything in their lives that may trigger their symptoms.
Additionally, psychotherapy allows patients to discuss their feelings and problems in a safe environment. Therapists help people understand that they have the power to improve their situations and mindsets. Psychotherapy can help patients cope with a variety of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
Unlike medication, therapy has no side effects and few drawbacks. However, as mentioned above, the cost of therapy may be a barrier for some patients. Therapy also requires the patient to set aside time for regular appointments.
Combining Medication and Therapy
For some people, discussing problems and learning the tools for dealing with them is the best and only necessary treatment. For others, the methods taught in psychotherapy are beneficial but don’t completely resolve their symptoms. In many cases, a combination of medication and therapy has been proven to yield the most positive results.
The right psychotropic medication can help patients relieve their symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders quickly. Simultaneously, patients can undergo psychotherapy to learn those lifetime methods for changing their perspectives and alleviating their symptoms. Therefore, medication and therapy working in tandem can often work better than either treatment alone.
Whether medication, therapy, or a combination of the two is the best treatment route depends on a variety of factors, including the person seeking treatment. Talking to a mental health professional can help you choose the best treatment based on personal factors.
If you are seeking treatment or if you have any questions regarding your mental health, contact Dr. Quintal and Associates Counseling Center today and schedule a free consultation. Our team of professional counselors is here to help.