The Connection Between Medication & Therapy: Getting the Right Treatment
Therapy, or counseling as it is sometimes called, is an excellent treatment for many mental illnesses. It is even a good option for dealing with particularly difficult life situations or setbacks. But for some with severe mental illness or persistent symptoms, it may not be enough to combat the symptoms. Some people need more than therapy to return to their regular level of functioning. Medication is a widely used, and highly successful addition to any therapy treatment plan. And in some instances, it is necessary to combine medication and therapy to allow the individual the best possible outcome.
Therapy Helps But You May Need More
How do you know when you need more than just therapy? Well, if you have been going to therapy for years and you are still not feeling better, you probably need something more than therapy. But without going to those extremes, there are other ways to know if you need something besides therapy to help you.
For example, if you have a severe case of depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, or chronic anxiety that is preventing you from living a happy life, you should talk to your psychiatrist or doctor about getting medication. Actually, most therapists will know that you need medication before you do and they will suggest it if they think it is needed in your case.
Why Would I Need Medication?
Medication can help stabilize your mood in order to help you focus on other things such as your day to day life. Although it is not a cure, some medications can calm your nerves enough for therapy to work like it should. In addition, with certain mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, you may be suffering from a chemical imbalance in your brain that can only be treated with medication.
Therefore, you will need to take medication as well as continuing therapy. In fact, getting therapy without medication in these cases will likely not help much because you are still going to have the physical problem of the chemical imbalance. Only medication can treat that problem enough for therapy to work.
Why Do I Need Therapy if I’m Taking Medication?
You may be thinking, “Why should I go to therapy if I am on medication?” Well, sometimes it takes several weeks to a month for the medication to work. It may also take time to work out the dosage amount that you need. In fact, you may have to try several different medications before you find the right one. That is the problem with mental health; it is difficult to figure out what works because everyone’s brain is so different.
Seeing your therapist on a regular basis while taking medication will allow them to determine if the medication is working. In addition, some medications can wear off after a while. The dose may have to be increased or medication changed as time goes on. According to some experts, the medication works from the bottom of the brain up, and therapy works from the top of the brain down.
How Do I Find a Therapist?
So, what if you do not have a therapist? If you are wondering how to find a therapist near you, there are many options you can try. You could ask your primary care physician or get a referral from a friend or family member. Or, there are many online mental health platforms that can help you find the perfect match for you.
In fact, online therapy is an excellent way to deal with illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Places such as BetterHelp.com have thousands of professional licensed therapists and psychiatrists that are available now. No appointment needed.
The truth is, no two people will need the exact same treatment. Even if they are diagnosed with the same illness or disorder. The differing severities of mental illness and differences in symptomology make it difficult to generate streamline treatments for each disorder. Many people living with Bipolar Disorder take different medications.
Many times, the medication prescribed is determined by multiple factors. Including severity level, the symptoms, the physical health and risk factors, and even their past experiences with medications. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to feel ashamed about taking medication. It is perfectly normal to receive medical treatment for an internal issue.
Your brain is an organ too, and sometimes it needs help to perform at its best.
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