Mind Over Matter, Pt. 2

Perhaps I've written about this previously. Perhaps I haven't. Regardless, I'll tackle it anyway.

Some people with a mental illness who hear what I'm about to say will tell me I'm crazy. Perhaps I'd get "partially correct."

In managing some mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and some forms of bipolar disorder (not including severe psychosis to an extent), I really believe that 90 percent of treating and managing the accompanying symptoms is "mind over matter."

I am not alone.

Programs such as cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy address fundamental psychological issues in treating these disorders. Individual and group "talk" therapies are a form of "mind over matter" treatments that aid patients. During my first meeting with my psychiatrist, he said, "Medication will only help you so much. You've got to use behavioral therapy to address some of these issues." A second psychiatrist I spoke to (in an attempt to confirm my disorder) required that I also meet with a therapist within his practice.

Professionals in the psych world would probably be in agreement that meds are not a magic bullet. During my stay at a psych hospital in October, a patient I spoke with told me she was on a concoction of lithium, Lamictal, and Depakote. (I'm probably forgetting another med in the mix.) After several days, she told me she wasn't "feeling better." Her complete reliance on medication troubled me.  It also troubled me that she expected it to work that fast.

People try all different kinds of medicines, expecting that the medication alone will "lift their mood" permanently or remove the extreme anxiety experienced in different situations.  A patient with mental illness should not receive treatment from a psychiatrist without treatment with a therapist.

I make an exception for patients suffering from schizophrenia and severe psychosis. If it's possible to get a schizophrenic into a psychologist's office, then s/he should be there. From my experience, though, it was difficult enough to get my schizophrenic father to a psych hospital let alone a psychiatrist. (Everyone was "out to get him.") Some schizophenics have moments when they're "in their right mind," so to speak. This also can occur with psychosis accompanying mental disorders.

But for those of us without psychosis and schizophrenia (and anything else that I've forgotten that could be lumped into that category), seeing a therapist is a must. Many of the habits developed during these mental illnesses can be corrected through behavioral and talk therapy. For some people, talk therapy can be used alone. Not everyone diagnosed with a mental illness needs medication. However, meds and therapy used together can form a powerful combination in the managment and treament of mental illness.

I'm not advocating  "pull yourself by your bootstraps." Heaven knows, I don't believe that. (Lamictal has been a Godsend for me so far.) What I am saying is that meds alone don't fix everything. Take a Zoloft pill and you'll be as bouncy and happy as that little egg-looking thing.

Too many people  have bought into the lies of drugs companies.  They've propagated (and insinuated) the lie that meds can "cure" mental illness. So millions of people are running around believing that and jump from med to med to med feeling treatment-resistant. (By the way, the drug companies, in the fine print, essentially say that meds aren't a cure-all and that you should also receive other forms of treatment.)

To sum up: Meds don't fix everything. Therapy is necessary to get better. Drug companies propagate lies.

Have a great day.


  1. February 27, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    I always thought that, I can’t see how medication alone could really help anyone out. Sure, it might work for a short time but in the long run the meds will only do so much and chances are good that that person will find that they will always have to depend on the medication…whereas a person who does both might find that they can learn to deal with the problems without having to depend on medication.

  2. Stacy said,

    February 28, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Plus, some people stop taking the meds when they feel better. Without the therapy that puts them right back at square one.

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