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How Psychotherapy Can Treat Mental Health Problems Better Than Medication

Have you been taking medications for your emotional distress and depression? There is a better way to deal with it!

How Psychotherapy Can Treat Mental Health Problems Better Than Medication

deally, the best way to treat any mental illness would be a combination of psychotherapy and medications

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Psychotherapy uses expression of emotions rather than medication
  2. It can benefit people with emotional distress without the use of pills
  3. But it is best to take medicines in chronic mental disorders
Mental illness has been around since ancient times. And with the evolution of psychology and psychiatric technique, ways to deal with it too have developed and been improvised upon. However, despite the various approaches available to the mentally ill, medication always seems to be the first option in the line of treatment - so much that antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines are among the leading prescription drugs around the world! Ideally, the best way to treat any mental illness would be a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy (use of medicines), with little reliance on the drugs and more emphasis on the medication. Except for in severe cases where they are a necessity, people claim to leave out medication altogether and stick to psychotherapy only.

What is psychotherapy?

Unlike pharmacotherapy, which is the idea that drug therapy is the most efficient route to take in order to treat psychological disturbances or addictions, psychotherapy is seen as a method of treating symptoms of distress in patients to help them return to a normal level of functioning.

It aims to enable patients, to understand their feelings, and what makes them feel positive, anxious, or depressed. This enables them to cope with difficult situations in a better way. It uses talking as a treatment rather than medication. Typically a therapy session lasts for about 50 minute and occurs once a week with a therapist. A therapist may be a  psychologist, family therapist, psychoanalyst or a psychiatrist. 

Also Read: Are You Simply Bored Or Is It Depression? Know The Difference

What are the types of psychotherapies?

  • Behavioural Therapy: It makes the patient understand how their change in behaviour can cause a change in how they feel. It shows best results in patients who are emotionally distressed.
  • Cognitive Therapy: It helps us to understand the root cause of why we feel how we feel. It helps in changing these stem beliefs to change the current outlook on things.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This combines both cognitive and behavioural therapy.
  • Interpersonal Therapy: This focuses on the interpersonal relationships and is best for the people who are ready to please others at their own expense. It also helps people with volatile relationships. It teaches the expression and channeling of emotions in a positive way.
  • Family Therapy: It is best for individuals who's emotional distress roots from family relationships. Like, one having depression due to marital problems. It helps to improve the communication within the family.


How is it better than medication?

With the binding condition of an effective therapist, science shows that psychotherapy works better in the long-term and is more enduring than medication. A good therapist while being influential, persuasive has a flexible treatment plan while being aware of the client's characteristic in context relies on best research evidence and continually improves through professional development. Along with being more cost effective, psychotherapy leads to fewer relapses of anxiety and mild to moderate depression than medication use alone. Psychotropic drugs also have the danger to get abused and lead to unhealthy addictions. However, despite the effectual development of therapy, it continues to lose its market share to medication due to the persistent and shrewd marketing techniques of pharmaceutical companies who sell their medications directly to the public and health professionals.

Where is psychotherapy most effective and how?

Psychotherapy is lowly being accepted as the first line of treatment for disorders like ADHD, insomnia, and depression. Prescribing stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall for children, especially very young ones, to control the symptoms of ADHD has caused a great backlash and behavior therapy has been suggested to be the first line of treatment for ADHD as it is equally effective minus the side effects.
 

adhd

Photo Credit: iStock

Due to some negative side effects of the medicine prescribed for insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy should be used as the first line of treatment. With the effectiveness of depressants being called into question more and more, the research behind the value of behavioral interventions to treat depression is growing. This shift of attitude is promising as it leads the profession of psychiatry to a better place where patients face the roots of their ailments and try to talk it out instead of being dependent on certain pills like block or induce hormones.

But of course, sometimes it becomes necessary to use medications, like in the cases of schizophrenia or chronic mental disorders. But never fail to ask your psychiatrist for a better alternative to medication and if any one of the therapies is a safe and better alternative, then do go ahead with it. If not, it is best to take your medications.

Also Read: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Schizophrenia

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