In practice, we are often asked by clients what is the best way to treat the issues they are dealing with. The short answer (of course) is that it depends. The recommendations that we provide to clients are based on professional training, clinical experience, and most importantly research findings. Let’s try to discuss some of the important variables that go into making what is a very personal decision.

Probably the most important factor in determining how to treat issues is the issue itself. The diagnosis typically drives the treatment recommendation, however sometimes the severity (mild, moderate, severe) also changes the recommendation for medication, therapy, or both. Let’s talk about a few of the more common issues that people are often familiar with and often have a clearer recommendation. ADHD, once diagnosed after appropriate testing, is a condition that is often treated most effectively with medication. This is particularly true for moderate to severe forms. Some mild cases can be effectively treated with therapy or ADHD coaching that helps clients to implement certain tools and tricks to make their symptoms more manageable.

Medication Therapy

Medication is almost always recommended for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Most research findings show there are chemical imbalances in the brain and that certain classes of medication can equalize and keep the symptoms under control. Therapy is typically recommended as an adjunct to medication as it promotes medication compliance and stabilization for clients. Therapy alone tends not to be effective for these two conditions in the long run.

Counseling Therapy

The common mental health issues that affect upwards of 20% of the population are depression and anxiety disorders. These are two conditions where research finds both depression and anxiety can be effectively treated with medication or therapy, although many choose to do both. When symptoms are mild to moderate, we typical educate clients about their options and let them choose. We get many clients who do not want to put medication in their bodies, but plenty who are happy to take one pill once a day and get rid of a lot of their symptoms. Curiously, we get the same with therapy. We get many people who love therapy. They enjoy learning tools and having a place to vent and unload. That said, we get plenty of people who say they are more private and not real interested in telling a stranger their personal stuff. Research does find that that therapy tends to be more effective in the long run relative to medication alone. It seems treating symptoms with medication is not the same as getting to the root of issues in therapy.

When depression and anxiety are moderate to severe, we strongly encourage clients to consider both medication and therapy together, which tends to be more effective. Often medication provides relief for physical symptoms such as sleep, appetite, energy, and concentration. This often sets the stages for therapy to be more effective. As people are sleeping better, more energized and focused, they can get a lot more work done in therapy a lot quicker.

If you want to talk with one of our psychiatrists or psychologists about how best to treat what is going on with you, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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