Do I Need Medication or Therapy?

The ease in which you can obtain a prescription for mental health medication has greatly improved, especially in the last few years. Today, people are bombarded with television and social media ads for specific medications, and how they are superior to other medications.

Indeed, there are lots of opportunities to get mental health medication without ever walking into a doctor’s office. 

However, not everyone who begins psychotherapy sessions also needs medication. Likewise, not everyone who begins taking mental health meds also schedules psychotherapy sessions. But research shows that some people get the best results when medication and therapy are combined. When medication is added in the early stages of therapy (especially for people in severe pain), it can help the person feel better more quickly and it sets the foundation for success in therapy. With a little relief from the symptoms that brought them to therapy, they have more energy to do the hard work of therapy.

Some advantages and disadvantages of treating mental health issues with medication include:

  • Lower cost compared to therapy
  • Greater likelihood it’s covered by most insurance companies
  • Potential side effects from taking the medication
  • It may take several attempts to find the right medication

Some advantages and disadvantages of treating mental health issues with therapy include:

  • Learning skills that will last a lifetime
  • Fewer side effects
  • It is not always covered by insurance health plans
  • It takes a greater time commitment

There are many medications to treat mental health issues today, and there are many therapeutic approaches to mental health. If your therapist recommends consulting with your doctor or a psychiatrist about the helpfulness of medication for your individual needs, consider doing it. If your doctor recommends giving therapy a try, consider doing it. For both therapy and medication, try to stay with it long enough, because both may take some time for you to see full results. And remember: It’s important to consult with your therapist and doctor to find out what would be most helpful in your unique situation. 

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