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Medication vs Counselling Therapy

“What’s your opinion on medication? Will medication help me with my depression & anxiety?” I get asked these types of questions a lot from the people I work with.

Before I get too far into this post I want to disclose that I am not a qualified doctor nor do I pretend to play one by any means. If you are thinking that medication might be a good option for you I would encourage to discuss these options with a trained professional such as your doctor.

What I will look to cover in this post are a few common viewpoints and concerns expressed by the people I work with, and give my own personal take on medication and the relationship with mental health.

My take on Medication:

For me personally I can see both the pros and cons of how medication is used to help with such symptoms as depression and anxiety.

I think of medication as being a tool that if used correctly can be a great asset for working with mental health challenges.

I have heard numerous cases of how people who have started using medication and as a result has helped their life immensely, which is fantastic.

If diagnosed at the right time by the right person for the right situation, medication can be a great resource for people.

On the flip side however a common concern I hear from people is they don’t want to be relying on medication for the rest of their lives. And to be fair this is a valid concern to have.

There is also a common theme of people not wanting to “resort to medication” as they would like to overcome their depression or anxiety naturally.

The downside:

Another downside of medication is that it focusses more on treating the symptoms of mental health rather than what’s causing it. Example: You feel really anxious – take the medication – reduces the anxiety symptoms.

Medication as an approach by itself doesn’t get to the real source and take into account what’s actually causing the low mood or anxiety attacks.

Here’s an example for what I mean.

Say two people went to the same doctor complaining about headaches. The first person’s head ache was caused by them drinking too much alcohol, and the second person headache was caused by hitting their head while riding a bike. These are completely two different causes; however the medication we would receive to take away the pain in our head would most likely be the same.

Furthermore, if both people were just to take the medication by itself, it doesn’t really help the chances of those headaches returning. Something that might be more beneficial for both situations would be to look at the cause; such as reducing the alcohol consumption and making sure to be wearing a helmet or riding the bike within their abilities.

My work in a therapy setting is based around on focusing on what the causes are, and implementing practical strategies to help.

When it comes to common mental health symptoms, our thoughts and how we work with them plays an important part.

My work is based around a combination of psychology, counselling and life coaching techniques that work with these thoughts and help to improve depression and anxiety.

Did someone say conspiracy?

 Adding to this ongoing  debate is the angle (or if you like to call it – conspiracy)  of the pharmaceutical companies controlling and directing the narrative of having an “chemical imbalance” in our brains. Which leads onto all the different antidepressants  being the cure to our depression and anxiety. Sadly there is ongoing and growing evidence, and the more I delve into this, that this might be the case.

I won’t go down this rabbit whole too much, however if you are interested there is a fantastic book by Johann Hari –  that pulls this narrative to bits and looks more holistically at what might be causing our depression.

In summary:

I am not saying don’t use medication, if it works for you then fantastic, keep doing it.

Overall, I see medication playing an important role in our mental health; however personally I don’t think it should be the only option for people.

I like it to a tripod or a chair. Medication is only one leg of the whole structure, and it’s important to look at the other options and work on these.

Once again I would like to reinforce that I am not a licensed doctor or psychiatrist.

However I am encouraging that if you are considering medication as an option to help with your mental health, please seek out and talk to the right people, such as your doctor so you can make an informed decision. I would encourage anyone to talk to their professional in more depth about medication and to make sure all your questions are answered.

Once again I would like to thank you for letting me into your day.

All the best Gareth @ Christchurch Therapy.

About Christchurch Therapy:

At Christchurch Therapy, the focus is on helping you move forward in your life.

Whether it’s moving on from your anxiety, depression, low mood or working towards a change in lifestyle.

Focussing on the future, alongside learning practical tools, you can start seeing the results you want.

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