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Do all mental health therapies include use of drugs?

Sheri Van Dijk
Psychiatry

No. Many people don't like the idea of taking medication for mental health problems, and this is completely up to you. While in some cases it is necessary (such as with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) or at least recommended, often mental health problems - mostly depression and anxiety - can be treated without medications.

Keep in mind, however, that if your functioning is severely impaired - if you can't work or go to school, for example, or if getting out of bed is even a chore some days - you might want to consider medications even in the short-term. Think of medications in this instance as something to help get you to the point where you can get the most out of psychotherapy (if functioning is really difficult for you, you might not be able to focus enough to learn new skills in therapy, or you might not have the energy or drive to make needed changes in your life). Once you've progressed in therapy, you can speak with your doctor about stopping the medications if continuing to take them is problematic for you.

I think the thing to emphasize here is that, people with diabetes take insulin; people with blood pressure problems take blood pressure pills; why do we contine to stigmatize mental illness and the treatments that are often helpful for them?

No, not all mental health therapies include the use of drugs. Somatic treatment techniques use electroconvulsive therapy or medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and antianxiety drugs. Psychotherapeutic treatment, on the other hand, involves interpersonal interaction between individuals and groups.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.