--Original published at Caleb C's College Blog
For my first source, coming from Psychology Today, a very credible source which analyzes all sorts of psychological news as well as looks into varying psychology related issues. The article titled “Psychotherapy vs. Medications: The Verdict Is In,” written by Susan Whitbourne, who has her Ph.D., thus validating her to discuss the issue at hand. The article highlights psychotherapy and its positives regarding mental health treatment. She begins scrutinizing medications and how they could be potentially prescribed without proper full evaluations of patients, and she expresses her concerns that they could fail to treat psychological symptoms and could have a potential host of side effects. She brings into the article, Richard Friedman, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and states him saying “American psychiatry is facing a quandary: Despite a vast investment in basic neuroscience research and its rich intellectual promise, we have little to show for it on the treatment front.” She uses this evidence to defend the argument that there is little to show for the overmedicated America and whether or not drug therapy is truly working. She then concludes her point of focus by saying “almost all (95%) of the federal dollars spent on mental health research go to drugs, not psychotherapy, in clinical trials.” Emphasizing her point that most of the money is going towards drug therapy instead of psychotherapy, when drug therapy isn’t providing substantial proof of working the way it should be considering all the money out into it.
The second article I examined promoting psychotherapy is found on WebMD, a website credible of producing well researched articles regarding medical issues. Written by Jeanie Davis, the article titled “Drug vs. Talk Therapy for Depression” discusses how talk therapy could be preferred for depression. She begins by bringing up statistics regarding how only since 1995, drug therapy has increased 28%, and out of the 68% of people receiving drug therapy out of those receiving mental health treatment, 80% of those are for either depression or anxiety. She then criticizes how there are serious side effects which come along with these medications, which are much more common than people realize. She discusses how drug therapy is an easy way out which provides people instant help instead of participating in psychotherapy which takes much longer, but produces an effect which lasts much longer. She brings up how some care programs limit people to only 10 visits, thus limiting people to what they need regarding their position. She also brought up a survey which consisted of over 3000 Consumer Reports readers which found that those who mostly conducted in talk therapy did pretty much as well as those primarily on drug therapy. She then uses Metcalf to bring up some points such as how talk therapy is usually more cost effective if you are paying out of pocket and you do not have to worry about side effects.
For my third article, from MentalHelp.net, Allan Schwartz discusses the issue in an article titled “Psychotherapy vs. Medication for Depression, Anxiety and Other Mental Illnesses .” I believe he is credible in his discussion, considering he has his Ph.D. and was in practice for more than thirty years. He mainly focuses his defense of medications off the fact that some forms of psychotherapy have not been proven to work and that some psychologists refuse to use CBT, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, because they do not agree with it or its efficacy. He states that ” psychiatrists and the companies who manufacture psychotropics, are able to demonstrate the fact that medication relieve depression and anxiety.” He uses this point to show how medications are proven to work and that they have a lot of support behind them, while psychotherapy is limited in its effectiveness. He then continues to discuss how psychotherapy is fluid in its use with psychologists because each psychologist uses it differently and it isn’t consistent in practice, essentially leaving the practice up to the practitioner based on their style and preference.
For my final article, from PSYCOM, Katie Hurley discusses “Teen Depression: The Pros and Cons of Medication.” When reading the article, she seems credible through her use of facts and bringing up specifics regarding medication treatment, showing her research. She begins the article by stating “according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 3 million American adolescents, age 12 to 17, had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. 1 This number represented 12.5% of the adolescent population.” This is a gripping beginning statement which establishes the seriousness of the issue at hand regarding mental health disorders across America. She brings up varying medications used to help mental health, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and monoamine oxidase inhibitors as well as monoamine oxidase inhibitors and atypical antidepressants such as Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, and Effexor. These are all different medications which have been used to help treat people with depression, thus showing the variety of medications for people’s individual needs. She then continues by discussing the pros of medication, highlighting certain effects such as how they “improve mood, appetite, increase focus, resolve sleep disturbance associated with depression, decrease anxious symptoms that can occur with depression, and decrease depressive symptoms that can trigger suicidal thoughts.”
From my perspective, if you feel like you are dealing with a serious mental health issue, you should contact your healthcare provider and seek an M.D. as soon as possible. I believe they know way more than me on the topic and will try and help as best they can. What’s most important is getting help as soon as you can to try and help alleviate the issue. One form of help is no better than the other, and its up to you and your doctor to find the best option for your individualized issue, thus a combination of both drug and psychotherapy may be the best option for you, and from my opinion it wouldn’t hurt to try both to see what helps you the most. In the end, your health is at the upmost importance, thus confiding in one way of treatment could be damaging, thus talking to a doctor to work out a plan is the best way to deal with something as serious as your mental health.