More Choose Therapy Over Medication for Mental Health Treatment

Patients Feel Therapy Takes a More In-Depth Approach  


People who seek professional help for mental health conditions like depression or panic disorder are more likely to accept and follow through when talk therapy is prescribed, rather than medication, according to a new meta-analysis of previous research, reports The Huffington Post.

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

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

The study authors say that the analysis did not take into account the reasons why patients refused or dropped out of their treatment plan but they have some theories. Patients might feel that therapy takes a more in-depth approach as a way to tackle the complexities of mental health disorders, according to the researchers. Some patients might also struggle to understand how medication works or what it does in the brain, causing them to avoid it. 

The analysis didn’t find a significant difference or rate of dropout for patients who took medication in combination with therapy. Experts say 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 effects, like chemical imbalances in the brain.


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