Mental Health Patients Choose Therapy Over Medications, Research Reveals

By Lisa Franchi on March 10, 2017

A report published by the American Psychological Association found that mental health patients were as much as three times more likely to refuse or not complete their recommended treatment if it took the form of psychotropic medicine, such as antidepressants, instead of psychotherapy.

This is more observed in people with depression and social anxiety, who were twice as likely to refuse medication, and people with panic disorder, who were almost three times as likely to do so.

The analysis of 186 studies involved more than 17,000 patients, 8 per cent of whom refused the recommended treatment plan. In addition to treatment refusal, the studies measured whether or not the patients completed their plans.

While the analysis did not include the reasons why the patients prescribed with medications were more likely to opt out of their treatment plan, the researchers think that patients may feel that therapy takes a more in-depth approach as a way to tackle the complexities of mental health disorders. Additionally, patients may struggle to understand how medication works or what it does in the brain, causing them to avoid it.

“Psychotropic medications may help a lot of people, and I think some do see them as a relatively easy and potentially quick fix, but I think others view their problems as more complex and worry that medications will only provide a temporary or surface level solution for the difficulties they are facing in their lives,” said co-author Roger Greenberg, a professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

The study also notes that there wasn’t a significant difference or rate of dropout for patients who took medication in combination with therapy. Experts believe that a combination of therapy and medication is often the most successful way to treat mental health issues. Psychotherapy has been found to help people manage the environmental factors that could exacerbate a condition while medication can help with the physiological, chemical effects in the brain.

Source of this article:

People Who Seek Mental Health Help Choose Therapy Over Medication

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