Sometimes suffering requires treatment with medication, especially if symptoms are severe or long-standing. And certainly if they are life-threatening. All the exercise in the world (or healthy eating or positive thinking, etc) cannot heal every form of psychological distress. Here are some considerations regarding psychotropic medications:
- Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are widely prescribed, most often by non-psychiatric clinicians. In and of itself that is not necessarily a bad thing, but ideally psychotropic drugs should be monitored by someone with a behavioral health background.
- Oftentimes non-psychiatric providers are making the decision to medicate based on a 10 minute consultation, which does not allow for sufficient information-gathering or exploration of alternatives.
- One-size does not fit all, so to speak, and medication that is not carefully prescribed can do more harm than good, both in the present and long-term. A well-informed behavioral health professional understands the nuances of mental health conditions and psychotropic treatment and can contribute valuable information to the non-psychiatric prescriber.
- Because of side effects, potential and actual, medication decisions should never be taken lightly and a thorough risk/benefit analysis requires time, information, and objectivity. This is never more important than in pregnant and lactating women.
- The decision to discontinue treatment is almost as important as the decision to begin. Too often people stop their medications without supervision and risk the consequences of a discontinuation syndrome or (preventable) relapse.
- Under-prescribing is as problematic as inappropriate or over-prescribing. It must be understood that untreated or under-treated illness is not benign! Emotional well-being is critical to the health of individuals, their marriages, children, careers, etc.
One of my strengths as a therapist is to help you determine whether or not a medication evaluation is indicated or the effectiveness of a current medication regime. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I do not prescribe psychotropic drugs. I am, however, very familiar with the medications used to treat these conditions and I will be happy to provide you with information to make a knowledgable decision (with your prescriber) in that regard. I will share with you my clinical perspective and recommendations based on years of experience and staying up-to-date with the literature. I will also offer alternatives to medication when that is most appropriate.
"There is no pill to mend a broken heart, fill empty lives or teach people to love each other."