Let’s talk about another controversial issue- psychotropic medication. There’s a place for psychotropic medication (SSRIs, MAOIs, etc.). I just don’t think that place is with every single person who reports experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sometimes, a psychoactive medication can indeed be helpful for someone who exhibits symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can help to give the person a little bit of “space” from the severity of their symptoms and help them to access psychotherapy (and other therapeutic modalities). In this case, the medication is often used short term.
While it’s great to keep in mind the helpful nature of psychoactive drugs, medication is not always useful or even indicated for all types of symptoms. I recommend seeing a specialist, especially when it comes to your health. This means, if you are interested in or curious about medication, consider seeking treatment from a psychiatrist instead of your general health practitioner. To figure out the best course of action for your treatment, you can interview psychiatrists to find out who might be the best fit for you.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our responsive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of our neural pathways. From circumstance and experience, the human brain learns which neural pathways to reinforce. You’ve probably heard that a group of people can have the same circumstance applied to their lives and experience it differently. This is thanks to our neural pathways!
We reinforce particular neural pathways every day. Sometimes this process is more reflexive than others. We are reinforcing certain neural pathways when we say to ourselves, “Ugh, I reeeaaaally don’t want to go to work today,” and when we head to the fridge after a stressful day, regardless of our level of hunger and when we say, “I can’t go out dancing unless I get really drunk! I’m so awkward,” and when we yell at the person who cut us off as we approach the on-ramp.
This both reflects and impacts our self-confidence, our self-acceptance, our happiness, and our quality of life. It is the running story we tell about our relationships, feelings, jobs, capabilities, our lives, and ourselves. It is the living story that we perpetuate. We can choose a different way of thinking, a different response to our thoughts and feelings. It takes commitment, consistency, and motivation, but… what is more motivational than the knowledge that you can improve your happiness by managing your uncomfortable symptoms with your brain?!
You can start with slow progress, using the one out of one hundred rule (when you successfully manage your symptoms one out of every one hundred possible chances). This will be the start of shifting your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors! It will be the start of welcome relief from your symptoms and the start of your freedom. (And the more consistent you are, the better you will feel!)
To find out more about the treatment of anxiety and depression without medication, please contact me. I would love to shed some more light on this for you.
Love and Be Loved,