When medication can help
20th November 2018
How we work together with our clients to decide the best forms of private psychiatric care
At the Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we have the great privilege of providing psychiatric care to people from all walks of life, who live in all parts of the world. And while the symptoms experienced by these people might all look the same on the outside, the build of every individual’s internal world is entirely unique. Designing a schedule of therapy and treatment is something we do together with our clients, making sure they feel comfortable at every step of the journey.
In this article, we’re going to explore how we make decisions on whether or not a client will require medication as part of their treatment. And we’ll also explore how therapy that helps reshape a person’s internal world will always be an important part of treatment – regardless of whether you need medication or not.
Assessing short-term versus long-term needs
Psychological problems and imbalances present themselves in a client’s life in very different ways. Sometimes, a person is simply living their day-to-day life and then all of a sudden, they are triggered so strongly that their entire existence changes overnight. For example, a person is in a minor car accident, and though they can physically recover in a week or two, the psychological toll might mean they can’t go to work. Perhaps the shock is so severe that they can’t get out of bed and are terrified of even looking at cars or roads – perhaps the event has re-opened deep trauma that has been subconsciously sealed since early childhood.
Then there’s a very different example of a person who may come to us with relationship difficulties. Let’s say their career is going extremely well, however they just can’t seem to find the right partner – they keep attracting the same type of person who just isn’t right for them and they know this is somehow linked to their upbringing and relationship with their parents.
Now in the first case, we can see that the person actually requires some form of medication, to lift themselves out of severe shock and to restore some form of basic functioning, so that they can get back to work and engage in on-going therapy that will put them back in charge of their own internal world. This person might require medication for several months and might engage in therapy over a period of two years, as an example.
In the second case, it’s highly unlikely that we’d prescribe medication, as this person is a high-functioning individual who is largely physically and psychologically healthy. If this person is highly motivated, they may choose to be in therapy for several years working out how to resolve their internal world. While their initial intention was to simply find the right partner, they may end up wanting to clear their inner world to a greater degree and resolve deep patterns. An example of this type of person, is Brene Brown, who spent several years studying shame after initially thinking it would take just one year. This resulted in a quest of exploration which included regular therapy with a specialist therapist who is trained to consult fellow therapists.
As you can see by looking at just these two examples, there are many varied treatment requirements. Plus, treatment plans also need to be tailored to an individual’s goals and how motivated they are to resolve core issues.
Working with a client’s personal wishes
Another factor we look at when it comes to making decisions about including medication as part of a client’s psychiatric care, is the client’s attitude to medication. One client might want a course of medication because they are keen to get back to a normal life as quickly as possible, while there are some clients who really don’t want to even entertain the idea of medication.
Our philosophy is to try to resolve as many problems as we can without the use of medication. However, when required, we are able to prescribe medications – in our experience, we’ve noticed that the short-term boost provided by medication usually enhances regular therapy, and where this is needed, we will certainly suggest it as an option. A client’s motivation to make the most of therapy unaided and how their life situation functions overall, are also factors we take into account when working out treatment programmes.
Some conditions need to be controlled through medication
If the condition in question has a well-established biochemical cause, for example, bipolar disorder, we would advise medication as part of the psychiatric care in addition to working out psychological strategies to get a firm grip on the condition. Adult ADHD and some forms of psychosis are also highly likely to require the use of medication.
Our in-house specialist psychiatrist Dr Tom Pennybacker, is a dually trained psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who assesses a client’s suitability and need for medication. He has treated a wide range of conditions requiring psychiatric care and has medicated people who suffer from bipolar disorder, adult ADHD, psychosis, OCD, schizophrenia, bulimia, chronic anxiety and depression.
Interestingly, there are some conditions that instantly respond only to medication. Some conditions don’t have psychological origins and won’t receive any added benefits from psychological therapy or techniques.
How quickly can I expect to see results from medication?
Since medication make gradual modifications to the neurochemistry that generates moods, it’s important to give medication time before you’ll experience a noticeable difference in your life. Generally speaking, you will notice whether or not the medication is right for you after 4 – 6 weeks of psychiatric care. Short-term prescriptions of medication will generally last for a period of 4 – 6 months.
We will always try to include psychological strategies that will help you achieve results that last for life. Our goal is to design the most efficient treatment plan, that will resolve immediate problems as quickly as possible, while working out how to help you refocus your internal world, so that recurring problems are resolved for good.
We’ve helped devise robust psychological treatment plans for a wide range of individuals, all over the world. If you would like to discuss how we can help, then please do contact us for a confidential chat.