Is Medication Right for Your Mental Health?
Updated: Nov 19, 2022
Weighing the pros and cons of medication management, in conjunction with therapy, for depression and anxiety.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. If you are interested in medication management for your anxiety or depression, please contact your primary care physician or a psychiatrist.
If you're struggling with depression or anxiety, perhaps you've given thought as to whether or not you should talk to your doctor about medication. You've probably heard many different things, both good and bad, about medication management. You may have a lot of questions or concerns. We at Calibrations Counseling & Consultation are here to provide some information to get you started on making the right decision for you and your mental health.
Do I need medication to manage my depression or anxiety?
Maybe, maybe not. Depression and anxiety can have multiple contributing factors. There is a biological component that includes our brain chemistry and our genetics. There is a psychological component that includes our thinking patterns and the way we view the world. Then, there is a sociological component which includes our relationships, the environment in which we work/study/live, and situations happening around us (both those that we can control and those we cannot). In therapy, we can address the psychological component of depression and anxiety, as well as help plan for coping with your current environments and situations or prepare for change. In your personal lives, you can practice and utilize coping skills and make changes that may help improve your environments. Sometimes, addressing the psychological and sociological components is enough to successfully manage your mental health. Sometimes, it isn't enough and despite what you learn in therapy and practice in your personal life, you continue to struggle because the biological component isn't being addressed. This is where medication management for your depression or anxiety may be helpful.
If I start medications for my mental health, does that mean I have to be on them forever?
No! A common misconception of medications for depression and anxiety is that if you start taking them then it automatically means that you will have to be on medications for the rest of your life. The real answer is, it depends. Some people have severe and recurrent depression and anxiety and do need to be on mental health medications for the rest of their lives. Some people are able to take mental health medications for a short period of time, until they are able to apply their learned skills and manage their mental health on their own. This is something that you would want to discuss with your primary care physician or psychiatrist.
Benefits of adding medications for mental health management
There are many benefits of using meds to help with your depression or anxiety. Here are a couple of the most common benefits:
1) Medications can help regulate your symptoms well enough to make it easier for you to
learn skills to manage your mental health. For example: if you are struggling to get out of
bed, it is going to be very difficult to practice the skills needed to combat your depression.
However, if you are able to decrease the severity of your depression then it may be easier
to practice those skills.
2) Research has shown that mental health medications can assist in making therapy more
3) The medications on the market for depression and anxiety have been well researched and
have shown to be very effective in reducing the intensity, frequency, and duration of your
Disadvantages of adding medications for mental health management
Same as benefits, there are also disadvantages to using meds to help manage your depression and anxiety. It is important to know both sides so your can make the most informed decision for yourself. Here are a couple of the most common disadvantages:
1) Many medications for depression and anxiety have a delayed onset. Sometimes, it can
take up to 4-6 weeks for these medications to take full effect. When you are struggling, 4-
6 weeks can feel like a lifetime.
2) All medications have various side effects. Some of these side effects are more tolerable
than others and it is up to you to determine which side effects are acceptable and which
are not. Keep in mind, just because a medication lists something as a side effect does not
necessarily mean that you will experience it.
3) Because everyone's brains are different, some medications may not work for you. This
can be very discouraging when you're struggling and are seeking relief from your
symptoms. Sometimes, it takes trying a couple different medications before you figure out
what works best for you.
If you have made the decision to start medications for your depression or anxiety, the next step is to meet with your primary care physician or a psychiatrist and they can help determine the best options for you. It is important to be honest with your prescribers about your experiences with medications so they can work with you to figure out what is going to best fit your needs.
Calibrations Counseling & Consultation is here to help you take the first steps toward managing your depression and anxiety. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment.