Talking or Medicine?
Getting the best help for your current situation may bring you to the age-old question of the “best” type of therapy. Will you recover better with talking therapy or a prescription for medication?
Many people start by considering what they have the quickest access to obtain. Do you have a good relationship with your primary care doctor and is it fairly easy to go for an appointment? Does your employer offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Have you had a prior experience with therapy or with a medication for your symptoms? Do you know what works for you?
The most important consideration is taking action to start the process of improvement. I encourage people to start with the easiest entry point. If you do not have a doctor that you see regularly, or that does not feel like the place you can start, take out your insurance card. On the back of most insurance cards, there is a number for mental health. Sometimes, you call the customer service number and select mental health from one of the phone options. The person who answers can help guide you through your benefits for the best entry point to meet your needs.
You may want to just pick up the phone and call Families In Focus. The office staff can answer basic insurance questions, may know about your EAP program and can have one of the therapists call you back if necessary. We schedule new clients promptly with one of the experienced therapists and in the early sessions, your therapist will be able to help you consider if adding medication to the talk therapy process would benefit your recovery. We will help you with appropriate referrals if you need an evaluation for medication.
Several research studies show that a combination of talking and medication may be the most effective for improving mental health. If you are already taking medication, consider meeting with a therapist too. Psychiatrists are medical doctors with a specialty in psychological issues and psychopharmacology. Most psychiatrists only prescribe medication and it can sometimes take several weeks or months to get an appointment. An article in the NY Times explains why many psychiatrists refer people to a therapist. It is often very valuable to have the expertise of a psychiatrist when you need medication. You and your therapist can decide if a psychiatrist could be the best choice for you if you consider medication.
People who experience depression and anxiety often consider medication. It might be important to consider medication when symptoms interfere with relationships or your ability to work and take care of important daily needs. If you experience symptoms related to sleep, mood, energy, concentration, appetite, irritability and being able to effectively solve problems, you may benefit from a combination of therapy and medicine.
We look forward to talking with you and helping you with the decisions about how therapy can help you consider the best types of treatment to help you live well.
Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor