Do I Need Medication?

Clients frequently ask if I think they need some sort of psychotropic medication to supplement their time in therapy. This is a very loaded and complicated question with no clear or simple answer. First of all, any clinician without a medical degree (like a therapist, counselor, or psychologist) is going to be limited in this answer as they are not experts in the field of psychopharmacology. That being said, however, it is widely known that no psychotropic medications are engineered to solve your “problems” or “issues.” They’re designed to help curb your symptoms, not help you with your life or relationships. So if you are experiencing profoundly hindering mental health symptoms (meaning those which directly and profoundly affect your level of functionality on a daily basis such as mania, delusions, hallucinations, catatonic depression, etc.) some medications may offer you some relief from those presenting symptoms. However, you should know that just about every psychotropic medication on the market will also provide you with some sort of undesirable side effects (i.e. fatigue, low sex drive, altered appetite, etc.) which will affect your life in other ways. Lastly, mental health issues are such complicated phenomena that have to take biological and environmental factors into consideration. Therefor, simply relying on medication will likely be very limiting in efficacy. The current paradigm is that those taking prescribed medications should also be actively participating in psychotherapy simultaneously. At the very least this gives a second clinician the opportunity to observe and monitor the client’s presentation on a weekly basis as the medication really starts to take effect. Furthermore, psychotherapy can be incredibly helpful in getting you to assess whether or not your symptoms are in fact a potential symptom of a mental illness/disorder or more so a normal reaction to an abnormal environment at a far more in depth level. Frequently those who ask if I think they need medication end up being so glad they decided not to as they start to learn more and more about who they are and how they can help themselves.

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