Should You Add Medication To Your Therapy? Here Are 5 Things to Consider

Perhaps you’ve been attending therapy sessions for a while now, but despite your best efforts, you haven’t made much progress towards your goals. Or maybe you’ve been considering going back to therapy after experiencing lackluster results in the past, and this time, you’re wondering what you could do differently to finally heal.

Sometimes, talk therapy isn’t enough to treat a mental health condition. Some people greatly benefit from incorporating prescription medication into their treatment plans. If you’re curious about medication, you might be wondering if you’re a good candidate for this form of treatment.

Here are a few reasons to consider combining talk therapy with medication.

Chronic Issue

Maybe you sought therapy because you’re struggling with a recent event in your life. For instance, perhaps you’ve lost a job, gone through a tough life transition, or dealt with a family problem that may have caused you to become depressed or anxious. But what if you’ve been struggling with these symptoms throughout most of your life? You may also have experienced lifelong problems managing your mood and find that rapid or severe shifts in mood negatively affect you personally and professionally.

Perhaps you’ve always dealt with recurring mental health issues. If so, medication might be a good choice to help you manage a chronic problem.

Lack of Results From Therapy

This might be your first time seeking therapy. Maybe you’re not quite where you want to be yet, but you’re seeing some real benefits. Or maybe you’ve been to therapy previously, and your efforts yielded little in terms of actual, lasting results. You want to consider trying medication to see if it enhances your experience in therapy. By integrating therapy with a medication regimen, you might be able to get more out of your therapy sessions.

Sometimes you need a little help to get to a place where you can do the work you need to do in therapy in order to achieve your desired results. Therapy is extremely effective, but it doesn’t work overnight and you need to be able to focus and remain stable enough to engage in it. Therapy can be like riding a horse. Learning the skills and process of doing so can help you feel empowered and take you on an incredible journey. However, sometimes you need a little help getting in the saddle. Medication can be like a mounting block you use to get a leg up on the horse; assisting you in the process and making it possible.

Symptom Relief

What if you’re struggling to complete basic tasks daily because your symptoms are so severe? You may need more immediate symptom relief. It can take some time to master symptom management through talk therapy. While this is perfectly fine for some people, someone with debilitating symptoms may need the extra help that medication can provide.

If you can barely get through the day because your symptoms are so overwhelming, you might find that medication provides welcome relief. Simply managing your usual responsibilities can bring a confidence boost as well, giving you the motivation you need to continue with therapy.

Energy to Focus on Healing

Sometimes, symptoms can even pose obstacles to attending therapy in the first place. For example, working up the energy to drive to therapy can be challenging if you’re constantly exhausted. And if you’re suffering from severe social anxiety, even signing in for an online therapy session can send your anxiety levels skyrocketing. Still, a medication that effectively reduces your symptoms can eliminate these barriers to treatment.

With medication, you might find that it’s much easier to simply focus on healing and developing long-term strategies for managing your mental health.

Comfortable With Adjusting Plans

Medication for any mental health condition is not a one size fits all solution. Everyone’s medication regimen can look a little different, and sometimes, the first medication or dosage you try won’t be quite right for you. Therefore, if you’re interested in trying medication, you need to ensure that you’ll be comfortable monitoring potential side effects and tweaking your regimen.

Establishing the proper medication regimen is a cooperative process between you and your provider. If you are worried about dealing with side effects or adjusting dosages, it’s a good idea to spend more time talking to your provider about the medication before trying it.

One common fear you may have is that, if you start medication, you’ll have to be on it forever. While there may be situations that merit long-term use of a medication, it’s likely that you will be able to use the medication to get to a point where you can deeply engage in therapy. This will allow you to learn necessary coping skills and techniques to manage symptoms in the future, and will also likely result in positive behavior change as you achieve your personal goals. When you feel more capable and empowered as a result of therapy, you may notice your symptoms decreasing; thus decreasing the need for medication.

Ultimately, the choice to integrate medication into your mental health treatment plan is a personal one. A good provider approaches prescribing psychiatric medication conservatively and can discuss many additional options for care, such as vitamins and supplements or behavioral changes, that can augment medication use and mental wellbeing. Look for a provider who is available to listen to your concerns, goals, and hopes. Know that if you are considering medication as part of your mental wellness journey, there are many options available to you who can act as a trusted guide, providing education that can empower you to make the right decision for you.