Combining Psychotherapy and Medication

There are several ways that individuals can treat their mental health disorders. The types of treatments used can range from traditional Talk Therapy to Medication Management. Although here at Affiliated Medical Group we specialize in medication management for treating mental health disorders, our providers will usually advise that patients consider adding Psychotherapy to their treatment plan, as well as other helpful training exercises.

While some psychiatric medications will treat a patient’s symptoms, there is just so much that only medication can do. Of course, this also depends on the severity of the symptoms and what the diagnoses are. Studies show that a combination of Medication Management and Psychotherapy seem to be more effective when it comes to treating more chronic or complex disorders. Such disorders may include Major Depression Disorder, Panic Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [1] . Furthermore, it is still very important to note that while a combination of these two therapies may be more effective for treating specific mental health disorders, they are both two separate types of therapy and they each have their own strengths individually. 

What is Psychotherapy? 

Psychotherapy, or Talk Therapy is when a Licensed Mental Health Therapist guides a patient to develop insight and manage their feelings, behaviors, or responses in their daily lives. It may take several sessions for the patient and therapist to form a relationship. We always recommend that our patients have a good and solid relationship with their therapist. If a patient does not feel comfortable with their therapist, then the patient has the right to end that relationship and find someone else. We strongly urge our patients to find a right fit for them when it comes to a Psychotherapist. 

What is Psychiatry (Medication Management)? 

Psychiatry is when a Licensed Nurse Practitioner or Medical Doctor manages medication to treat a patient’s symptoms associated with their mental health disorders. Psychiatric medications can help regulate a person’s mood and treat other symptoms related to the disorders. Some medications can be used short term, while others are used long term. If you have never tried Psychiatric medications in the past, feel free to check out the tips that our providers at AMG have compiled when starting new medication here. It is also important to feel comfortable with your medication manager. 

Other exercises for Mental Health 

Aside from the more traditional forms of therapy like medication management and talk therapy, there are a few other training exercises we like to recommend to our patients. New research shows that exercises such as Mindfulness Meditation can have several benefits in reducing Stress, Anxiety and Depression. Mindfulness Meditation is when a person becomes intensely aware of what they are feeling at that specific moment without any judgment or interpretation. The ultimate goal is to accept these feelings and emotions and let go of the negativity surrounding them. The techniques for Mindful Meditation can vary, but some examples include deep breathing and relaxing your mind and body by practicing things like walking and sitting meditation and body scan meditation. Body scan meditation is when you bring awareness to every part of your body by mentally scanning it from head to toe (or vice versa) and paying attention to how those parts feel. The mind and body are connected, so being aware of physical sensations and their effects on your emotions will help manage them. Other benefits that result from these exercises may include improved Blood Pressure levels, sleep and focus. Similar benefits can be found by practicing Yoga as well, which is why this form of exercise is something we may recommend to some of our patients. 

Finally, some other recommendations that our providers have in addition to their treatment plan include the following: 
  • Physical Exercise 
  • Good Sleep Hygiene (no naps during the day, consistent sleep schedule, no TV before bedtime, etc…) 
  • Staying away from Social Media and News, if possible 
  • Staying away from other stressors in life

The list of treatments for Mental Health Disorders can go on. Everyone is entitled to a healthy life, both physically and mentally. Our providers care, and so should you! Keeping a healthy mind, body and soul should be part of everyone’s treatment plan. We will help you find that peace. Contact us today! 
[1] Cuijpers, Pim, Marit Sijbrandij, Sander L. Koole, Gerhard Andersson, Aartjan T. Beekman, and Charles F. Reynolds. “Adding Psychotherapy to Antidepressant Medication in Depression and Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-Analysis.” World Psychiatry 13, no. 1 (2014): 56.

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