Is Medication Alone Effective in Treating Anxiety and Depression?

Currently, 40 million adults in the USA embroiled in the throes of anxiety, with 25 million grappling with depression, are seeking the help of internal medicine clinic services. While anxiety and depression do not always occur together, they do have one thing in common – they often go undiagnosed, and untreated.

There are several different treatment options available for anxiety and depression however their capacity to positively affect these mental health illnesses is directly correlated to the latter’s severity. Treating depression and anxiety is a long, drawn-out process, which many people mistake for immediate convalescence through high dosage of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. While medication does help shoulder the healing process, it is not at the heart of it – meaning the individual would have to go through an amalgamation of medical routes to get these mental health illnesses under control.

Now we don’t mean that you should completely stay off of medications, however, make sure that you are adding supplementary, necessary, resources to your recovery as well to ensure that your mental rehabilitation retains for longer periods of time. Often depression and anxiety are a result of a combination of several factors like trauma, family dysfunction, socio-economic elements, health concerns, etc. Hence, getting to the heart of the matter is the key to uprooting the problem, and maintaining optimal mental health.

One major reason we are writing this article is to obliterate this notion of a magic pill that will immediately torpedo the effects of distressing mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety. We want to relay significant, potent methods that can help individuals get a better grip on such debilitating issues without being fully reliant on medication.

Why medicating is not enough?

We are such strong and vehement advocates of utilizing a blended approach to ameliorating depression and anxiety because incorporating only medicines can have serious side effects that we will highlight down below:

Medicine might not be for everyone

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications affect everyone at different rates. Not everyone will experience immediate, or significant, relief from medication. Usually, pills will help take the edge off anxiety symptoms, while others might experience just “partial” relief. One needs therapy to further incite the effects of medication, since priming the mind to receive its benefits can amplify healing.

Dosage increase can risk addiction

Not only does medicine not affect everyone, but it could also require doctors to up the dosage since over time individuals tend to build a tolerance to its effects. Dr. Susan Heitler states, in her Psychology Today article called “Anxiety Treatments: Should You Be Wary of Anxiety Medication?”, that using anxiety medications for more than a couple of months or years increases the chances of the individuals becoming addicted to the drugs which can further deepen the issue. Though you can take anxiety medications to embalm short-term episodes, one needs to practice immense precaution when handling them long-term.

The medication comes with a surplus of side effects

Medicine usually comes with an array of side effects that can either show up immediately or sneak in overtime. This would totally negate any relief that could be obtained from drugs, instead of adding to the stockpile of medications to help keep any other flare-ups under wraps. However, many people have reported therapy significantly helping people get a stronger handle of their symptoms, allowing them to sustain the outcome better.

Underlying issues might never be addressed

Depression Expert Nancy Schimelpfening suggests in her article, “Can Antidepressants Cure Depression?”, that the antidepressants’ chemical makeup and subsequent functioning is to blame for their lack of a permanent solution. An antidepressant pill would target one or more neurotransmitters that regulate moods, leaving the rest, that is present in greater quantity, to remain for routine use. However, this also means that once you stop taking the antidepressant your brain chemistry would return to its original state. Not only that, typically the underlying cause of the problem is lodged deep within our subconscious, with medications acting as a balm to “cure” the symptoms only at surface level. You need healthier coping strategies that will help you manage the effects of depression and anxiety service efficiently long-term, and those can only be acquired through therapy sessions with a professional.

What is the cure?

Lifestyle Changes

Treatment for depression and anxiety typically comes in the shape of lifestyle changes that are simple yet powerful tools that aid in treating the exhaustive symptoms of both depression and anxiety. For some, these lifestyle changes might be all that they need, skipping medications altogether.

Exercise

Indulging in regular exercise boosts serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin that make the brain feel “happy”. This triggers the development of new brain cells and connections just the antidepressants do.

Socializing

Having strong social networks help in reducing isolation, which is often a key factor in triggering depression. Your therapist would often encourage you to build, and maintain, a solid social network of family and friends or find ways to meet new people.

Nutrition

Eating a balanced, nutritional diet that helps you hit all your macros and micros can be an excellent way to ensure you are keeping check of your mental and physical health. Your therapist or nutritionist can draw up a thorough food plan for you to follow and preserve.

Sleep

It is important to make sure that you are not skimping on sleep. In fact, depression and anxiety instigators like fatigue, moodiness, irritability, etc. are often exacerbated by sleep deprivation. Make sure to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

Therapy for anxiety and depression

If you want to prolong the benefits of your lifestyle changes then it is imperative that you acquaint yourself with a therapist.

Here is why you should give psychotherapy a try

Therapy can help you identify the cause of depression and anxiety

Often the source of our anxiety is embedded into the deeper parts of the subconscious and can only be brought to light through professional therapy. This will not only help you come to terms with the trauma or issues that might be affecting and altering your mental state negatively, but you will also get a better grip on the triggers that can provoke more severe episodes.

Therapy can help you identify your strengths

The key to change, beneficial change, is linked to discovering your own strengths and establishing better personal boundaries. Over-reliance on medication often leads to several individuals losing confidence within themselves since higher doses and stronger effects render it impossible for them to make sound decisions for themselves. This in turn affects regular, everyday aspects of life like work, relationships, and self-development. Incorporating therapy will force you to take responsibility for your actions, as it will equip you with tactics devised to help individuals get a better hold of their emotional and mental state.

Therapy assists in exceptional self-development

Though initially, the purpose of therapy is to help you manage your depression and anxiety symptoms. However, as time progresses and you get to know yourself better, therapy becomes a launching pad for an indomitable sense of self-development.
We do not suggest you completely let go of medication, in fact, strategic use of drugs along with therapy can be an incredible way to manage your mental health condition. However, therapy would help you work out a better way to utilize the medicine in your rehabilitation so that you do not become completely dependent.

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