Have you ever wondered about the benefits of therapy versus medication? Many people wonder the same thing when trying to figure out how to cope with their symptoms. This is why a number of studies try to provide simple answers to this question. Yet the answers are as complex as the condition(s) you may be dealing with.
The popularity of psychiatric drugs has increased a lot in the past 20 years, for all ethnic, social status, and age groups. Consequently, there has been increased research and development of drugs and increased advertisement for the drug industry. As a result, medications are also more accessible. This may explain why many more people now try medication as a first step in addressing their mental health. Coincidentally, primary care physicians can easily prescribe most medications.
Understanding psychiatric drugs
It’s important to understand that psych drugs are made to address the symptoms of a certain condition. Some drugs target only the most acute symptoms. For some people, this has been a life saver–literally. Others might complain that the drugs have challenging side effects or their symptoms persist. Over time, the effectiveness of a certain drug may change, and an adjustment may then be necessary. In such cases, it might be useful to think about medication as a chemically-stable substance that attempts to apply its effects on the brain, an ever-changing organ.
The brain’s plasticity is one of the most hopeful aspects of human potential, and a key element in the effectiveness of psychotherapy. It is precisely because of the brain’s capacity to change that psychotherapy is effective in addressing mental health issues.
Why consider psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is one of the best ways of addressing the root causes of mental illness. The right kind of psychotherapy can be the most effective way of creating lasting change in a person. That said, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is sometimes useful for the proper management of certain conditions. In some cases, medication may be difficult to avoid. In all cases, the potential for healing exists, since it is part the human condition.
I have witnessed, both personally and with many of my clients, the ability of the psyche to find healing without the use of medication. There is no clear answer to the question of therapy versus medication. I recommend that people seek guidance in this process. The greatest healing comes with great interest in and dedication to the healing process. This can include working with a well-trained psychotherapist who understands the complexities of the human psyche.