Mental health issues are more widely diagnosed now than they’ve ever been before and we’re just starting to realize the scale of the problem. If you see a doctor, the first thing they’ll do is suggest medication a lot of the time. There is a lot of debate at the moment about whether this is the right thing to do or if this is just doctors trying to find a quick solution to a problem that they’re struggling to handle. People also worry that taking too much medication could damage their health. So, is medication the best way to deal with mental health problems.
Does It Work?
There is a lot of conflicting research out there about mental health medication so it’s difficult to give a definitive answer as to whether it works or not. It’s not as simple as just giving somebody a pill and sorting everything out for them. Different people react in their own way to medications so it’s a case of finding the right one for you. For things like depression, medications have been found to improve symptoms in around 75 percent of people, but that’s only if they’re taking it consistently without introducing any barriers like alcohol or drugs. When somebody has a mental health issue, they’ll often struggle with taking medication regularly so there is always a chance that it won’t work for you.
It also depends on what kind of medication you’re taking because some will take effect immediately, whereas others could take up to six weeks before they start having an effect. That means people will often stop taking their medications before it’s had any effect because they think that it doesn’t work.
There is also an issue with people feeling embarrassed that they’re taking medication because there is still some stigma around mental health issues. Although that stigma is being broken down, it’s still difficult for some people to take medications without feeling self conscious about it.
So, the medications do help to relieve some of the symptoms but only once you’ve found the right one and you’re taking it consistently. The major issue that people take with medication is that it doesn’t get to the root cause of the mental health problems, which is vital if you want to be healthy again. That means you should take the medication that your doctor offers you, but you also need to be doing these things alongside that medication if you want to tackle the wider issues that are causing the problem in the first place.
The majority of doctors agree that, while medications are effective for reducing symptoms, the best way to truly tackle mental health problems is through talking therapy. Having cognitive behavioural therapies with an expert can help you to understand the thought processes that are leading to feelings of anxiety and depression and teach you how to manage those thought processes in a healthy way. The only issue that we have at the moment is that there just aren’t enough resources to give everybody that needs it talking therapies. If you’re paying for it out of your own pocket, it’s incredibly expensive and most people just can’t afford it, which is why there is a heavy reliance on medications at the moment. However, even if you can’t get access to talking therapies, there are still things you can do on your own to take care of your mental health.
Whenever you see a doctor about mental health issues, they’ll recommend exercise. When you’re working out your brain releases endorphins which help to improve your mood. It also helps to give you more energy which is vital. When motivation is low, your mental health issues become a vicious cycle; you don’t have the energy to be proactive which makes you feel even worse, which then it turn saps more of your energy. Getting out and exercising regularly gives you a sense of purpose and helps to boost energy levels. Keeping your body healthy is key to maintaining good mental health.
A lot of the time people develop mental health problems because of extreme stress levels so finding ways to reduce that stress and relax is a great way of feeling better. Meditation is the best way to do that. People are often put off meditation because they don’t really understand it but if you’ve never done it before, there are plenty of places to find guided online meditation that can walk you through it. Meditating helps you to clear your head of all those messy thoughts and reduce your stress levels. It also helps you to think more rationally about the stresses that are getting on top of you and manage them properly. As well as helping with your mental health, it improves your physical health as well. Meditating can give you a big energy boost which helps with your motivation and it can even help with pain relief as well. Meditating every morning when you get up will help you start the day right with a positive mental attitude.
The food that you eat also has a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. When you’re already feeling low, you’re more inclined to grab easy, readymade foods that are packed with fat and sugar and have a low nutrient content. This will make you feel tired and sluggish and make your anxiety and depression a lot worse. You should always make sure that you’re cooking good food with fresh fruit and vegetables that give you all of the nutrition that you need. It’s also important to avoid things that will make your symptoms worse. Caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety so if you’re drinking a lot of coffee, it’s best to cut it out. Alcohol is another danger area and if you’re drinking too much, it can make depression a lot worse. That doesn’t mean you can never have caffeine or alcohol but just be careful about how much you’re having.
The bottom line is, medications can be effective if you get the right one for you but they’ll only deal with symptoms, not the root cause of the issue.