Medication vs. Counseling

There is seldom a day that goes past where I don't have a client who comes to me with a great concern that their medications are not working. Often, when I ask what they are doing for themselves, they develop a rather puzzled look on their face. Most of the time, they say that they just wait for the medication to take effect.

More and more, society is putting focus on medications while ignoring personal responsibility. It is very easy to blame a chemical imbalance in the brain when one becomes angry and harms someone, or when a person does not have enough motivation to get a job or leave the house. When people have these problems, an overwhelming number of them focus on the perceived need for medications and then are displeased to find that these medications often do not fix the problem. Really, I can't blame a person for feeling that they should take a medication when they have such a problem. We have a society that has a huge focus on medications and there are frequent prescription drug commercials on TV.

I want everyone to realize that there is a need for medication in many cases. The current prescription medications are helpful for many people and lets them function. I think it is important to point out that people who take meds also need to take care of their mental health by looking at their thinking, how they interact with others, and their level of physical activity.

If people continue to place themselves in stressful environments, isolate themselves, have a lot of negative thinking, and get little exercise, they will likely have minimal benefit from a medication only approach. How can one attain significant changes if they do not change their thinking and behaviors?

What does counseling have to offer that medication does not? Well, medication helps to decrease symptoms so that a person can function. Counseling helps a person identify the causes of these symptoms. Often, these causes are a result of some sort of a relationship problem. Sometimes feelings of depression and anger are stemming from ourselves because we concentrate on negative things and continue to be ourselves up. How can a person feel good if there is continued negative self talk and continued relationship problems which cause very stressful environments?

I want everyone to realize that there are chemical and behavioral (thinking and doing) sides to our problems. Not everyone needs medications. Many people can manage their emotions by participating in therapy and changing their thinking and behaviors.

I urge everyone to first give therapy a try. If that doesn't work, or has little success, then there may be a need for medication in addition to therapy.

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