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The Medical Tools of Medication
With the increase of drug prescriptions to more and more people for more and more reasons, psychiatric medication has become a hot-button issue. There is little doubt that in some instances needless medication is prescribed. However, in many instances medication provides an extremely beneficial way for a patient and his doctor to manage mental illness. Deciding when medication is appropriate is a job best left to a patient’s counselor, medical doctor, and to the patient himself.
Evaluating the uses of medication
- Medications are often necessary to treat medically based conditions.
- Medications often provide substantial relief from symptoms.
- Medication combined with counseling for psychiatric conditions.
- Medication of children, and ADHD – the hot button issues.
- Medications can support and supplement many forms of non-medical therapy.
Medical Treatments for Medical Conditions
It’s often forgotten in the debate over psychiatric medication, that many forms of mental illness are caused or complicated by medical conditions that can only be treated with medication. For those with schizophrenia, bi-polar disease, some forms of depression and anxiety, some forms of ADHD, some obsessive-compulsive diseases, and more, medication may be the single most vital line of defense against mental illness. These conditions are not particularly responsive to classical forms of counseling, because they aren’t primarily psychological in origin, but biological, and only biological treatment gets at the source of the illness. While counseling is a useful auxiliary therapy, the primary treatment must address the medical aspects of illness, and medication is both likely and desirable.
Medical Intervention for Addiction Therapy
Addiction, with its complex and interwoven blend of normal human biochemistry, addiction-altered biochemistry, and long-term addictive behavioral patterning, is a classic case of a different form of useful psychiatric medication. By using a range of medications to moderate the detox response, serve as surrogates for the missing addictive drug, and ensure maximum comfort and focus for a patient in counseling, addiction therapists can improve the chances of an addict enduring withdrawal and continuing to a successful recovery.
Medications for Psychiatric Mental Illness
Even conditions with a primarily psychiatric basis can be addressed using medical interventions as supplementary treatment. Many psychiatric conditions manifest through very physical responses: phobias and non-biologically induced depression can both trigger intense anxiety, with the full range of bio-chemicals triggered by fear. Medication can reduce stress, improve focus, and reduce various forms of obsessive-compulsive behavior, increasing the odds of successful counseling.
Medicating the Young and the Restless
Perhaps the biggest public debate is over the legitimacy of psychiatric medication for children, and in particular for children believed to have ADHD or an associated condition causing disruptive behavior.
For some children, medication is indeed vital, providing the only access the child has to calm, focus and control. However, it is equally important to consider that there is very little indication that most children need medication, or experience exceptionally improved focus or behavior with medication. These children may be perfectly healthy, but active and immature, or merely inconvenient to a care provider or teacher. Further, major studies establishing the effect of long-term medication on children has yet to be conclusively finished. It may be decades before medication is proven safe of unsafe for growing humans. Care and conservative reluctance should be applied in cases where the young are the intended patient.
The Good and the Bad, Weighed
Psychiatric medication is a vital and often successful element in various forms of therapy and treatment. The practice is more likely to expand and evolve over the decades as medical psychiatrists and psychologists develop flexible and supportive medical therapies for psychiatric conditions. It remains, however, appropriate and necessary that patients inform themselves of the drugs intended, and resist easy and casual prescription. Extreme caution should be taken when accepting prescriptions for the immature patient. Using a referral service to obtain information and alternate opinions, review your choices with any planned medication.