Patients struggling with mental health problems will often have one burning question: Which is better, medication or therapy? In essence, both can be reliable approaches for addressing mental health issues. Taking medications can help reduce symptoms of mental health conditions by working with an individual’s physiology to reduce body based symptoms of mental health disorders.
On the other hand, therapy can help process emotions, create insight and build new coping tools for managing and reducing symptoms of mental health.
As a matter of fact, there has been a rise in the number of people seeking mental health treatment, be it medication or therapy. Many factors contribute to the increase in mental health issues, including dependence on electronic media, parental pressures, performance pressures like career and education, social media pressure, and even divisive views.
As the need for mental health treatment, be it therapy or medication, becomes increasingly important, the question becomes, how do you know which one is right for you? Read on to learn about some valuable tips that will help guide you in the right direction.
1. Consider the specifics
Although you’ll have your own preference for taking medications or undergoing therapy for anxiety and depression, there are some important things to contemplate and take into account when considering which options may be a good fit for you. For example:
• Review and consider both you mental and physical health history. Mental health can be impacted by physical health concerns.
• Take account of your age. Some forms of medications or therapies may be suitable for adults, not children.
• Establish other determinants like allergies or side effects you may have had to previous treatments.
• Decide whether previous treatments were helpful in treating a specific condition.
You should also carefully assess whether the type of medication or therapy might hinder you from effectively dealing with your condition or if you’d need a completely new approach.
For example, if you’re dealing with anxiety, you may feel more comfortable speaking with an online therapist while others would rather have a face-to-face meeting. Sometimes, the way a method is administered or conducted can be the driving factor for you to pick an option, not the treatment itself.
2. Weigh the pros and cons of both methods
Weighing the pros and cons of all treatment options can be an important step in evaluating what options may be the best fit for you. Medication and therapy will each have their own merits and pitfalls that will be helpful to consider. For example:
• Medication may have immediate effects whereas therapy may take some time to yield positive results.
• Medications may cause side effects, such as headache and nausea.
• Medication may work for some patients who don’t find therapy helpful.
• Therapy sessions work towards understanding the social, emotional, and cognitive causes of any mental health issue. In contrast, medication treats the symptoms of a mental health condition.
• Medication can be more cost effective than therapy, but therapy may be more effective in the long run for some people.
• Some medications can be dependency building.
• Some people may experience a relapse when they stop taking medications or are being treated for addictive behaviors. However, the risk for relapse is less when attending therapy sessions regularly.
Here’s at an in-depth look at the benefits of psychotherapy:
When patients with anxiety undergo psychotherapy, they learn how to manage their emotions by understanding and accepting them and working towards their goals.
Mental health professionals, like therapists, offer patients emotional support and work to build trust with clients. They assist clients in getting to the bottom of the problem, finding a solution, and establishing new ways of reacting and thinking so that they can go back to their everyday lives and thrive.
Patients with obsessions have to deal with at times constant, unwanted thoughts that cause them to be fixated on a particular goal or subject matter. Compulsions, on the other hand, are irrational behaviors people feel they need to do repeatedly. In most cases, patients act on their compulsions to reduce anxiety or relieve stress related to their obsessions.
Through therapy, clients can assess their behaviors, become aware of their negative thought patterns, and adopt healthy alternatives to the compulsions. So, with a mental health professional’s guidance, they can free themselves from a cycle of distress.
Like psychotherapy, medications help in treating mental health conditions. For instance, anti-anxiety medications allow patients to manage their symptoms, such as extreme fear and worry and panic attacks.
People with depression may take antidepressants as part of their treatment. These medications help them achieve emotional balance and alleviate symptoms, including restlessness and anxiety.
3. Discuss all options with a professional
Determining the best route on your own can be daunting and dangerous. Moreover, attempting to self-diagnose and treat yourself may worsen the problem.
Professionals receive the necessary training to recognize risk factors and consider all the facts before recommending a specific method or technique. Therefore, you should always consult a reputable, knowledgeable mental health practitioner.
4. Research the option you prefer
Aside from seeking advice from a professional, find more information on the method you prefer. Read up on the various techniques and medications. This will allow you to be prepared, ease any concerns you might have, and overcome worries and concerns related to mental health stigma.
The final resolve
Even if choosing between medication and therapy seems relatively straightforward, you’ll have to take some factors into consideration, such as your medical history. What works for others may not always work for you. So, it’s important to ask a professional for advice and do your own research.