20 Feb 2016
Medications vs Psychotherapy
Living in the modern world has plenty of things to offer. Unfortunately, a fast paced life has also a lot to offer in terms of stress and anxiety.
From anything as simple as meeting your child’s teacher to working in a stressful environment, there are plenty of things a person can worry about in their day to day life.
Usually, there is nothing wrong with being concerned about something.
However, once you start to feel that anxiety starts to interfere with your life and your activities, then it is probably a good time to seek anxiety treatment – Medications vs Psychotherapy.
Featured image via emagineart/Flickr Creative Commons
Staying happy with the help of a pill
More often than not, a lot of people turn to medication in order to keep their anxiety in check.
But there are a few important things that you should always keep in mind.
First of all, there is a variety of anti-anxiety drugs available.
Whats important though is that not every person needs nor should be taking this kind of medication.
In most cases, a person can deal with their issue without having to resort to medication and the side effects that come with it. Depending on the type of medication, there are different side effects.
Drowsiness, clumsiness, slurred speech or even depression are among the common side effects of anti-anxiety drugs.
Among the rest of the treatments, nausea, headaches and other symptoms, are also common.
Bottom line is, you need to know that anti-anxiety medications are a short-term solution and have many drawbacks.
Before you decide that you need to start such a medication, you should explore other kinds of treatments.
Only if the situation cannot be handled without something to take the edge of, should you seriously think about using them.
A professional will always be able to offer other means of treatment.
Talk about your problems and fix them
Usually anxiety stems from real issues we have in our lives.
Although anti-anxiety drugs can provide a fast solution, in the long-term it will be far more beneficial to find and treat the underlying issue, instead of dealing with the symptoms.
Psychotherapy, or counseling, has proven that it can help a person identify what is causing their anxiety and address the issue, if that is possible, or learn how to keep anxiety under control if the root of the issue is out of their hands.
To get the most out of it, a person has to willingly agree to seek help from a therapist.
That is because there are changes to be made in their lives and they have to agree to make them happen.
How can one turn around their life if they are not ready to take the necessary decisions?
Once one agrees, they set up meetings with their counselor.
Typically they last about 20 minutes and people find it best to spend at least 50 minutes per week.
During that time, the two of them talk about how to best solve problems and find goals to pursue.
Sounds simple enough, probably too simple for it to actually work, but studies have shown that most people can find what they are looking for and improve their life, without needing to resort to drugs, or at least keep them at a minimum.
Types of psychotherapy
There are several types of psychotherapy, but the two that stand out the most are behavior therapy and cognitive therapy.
Behavior therapy is a very simple form of therapy which focuses on analyzing a persons lifestyle and daily routine and looking for ways to improve it.
Lets say for example that someone called Ted is dealing with anxiety and depression.
After the first meeting with his counselor, he starts to keep a log of his daily activities.
Once they meet again, they both notice that Ted leads a very simple life. He wakes up in the morning, goes to work, returns home and sits allow watching television until he decides to go to sleep.
His anxiety is probably what leads to his procrastination, and in turn that makes him avoid people.
Without meaningful interaction with others, depression starts to sink in.
So, in order to change that, both Ted and his counselor look for activities they can add to Ted’s schedule which include social interaction, and reduce the time he spends in front of a TV.
One solution for starters would be to arrange a weekly meeting with a few friends to go out for a beer or bowling.
In the end, behavior therapy tends to look for simple and small things that someone can change in order to start getting better. Cognitive therapy focuses less on what we do and more on how we think.
In short, this kind of therapy is focused more on people who personalize negative events, tend to distort how important things are, focus only on the negative, and usually think in a dichotomous way (fight or flight).
For example, lets say that Simon, a person with social anxiety, said hello to a female coworker this morning and she ignored him. Simon might start thinking that she ignored him on purpose.
Should the same thing keep happening, he may decide that he either has to confront her and accuse her, or start avoiding her.
No matter the case, he is also hurting his own self-esteem. But what if his coworker did not purposefully ignore him. She could either be preoccupied, or maybe even Simon, being shy, did not address her loud enough.
In this case, cognitive therapy would seek to help Simon see all the matter from different angles.
There are alternative ways to think about any given situation, and in many cases, deal with them.
This is a very good approach, especially for people who have inaccurate or wrong beliefs about themselves.
By changing the way people see themselves, they can change the way they feel, and in turn, how they deal with the issues in their lives.
In the end, there are many different reasons and causes for a person’s anxiety.
Likewise, there is a variety of ways to deal with them. One thing though is certain.
It can always be treated and with the help of a professional, one can find the best way for them.
It may involve psychotherapy, it may involve medication, or as it is most often the case, a combination of the above.
First things first however, if you believe you or someone close to you has anxiety issues, know this.
Wanting to fight off anxiety and being willing to do so is just as important, if not more important, than it is to actually look for help. And it should always be considered as the first step to a better life.