Recently Jennifer Serrentino MD wrote an article about Depression & Anxiety and published it on her website. Here are some excerpts from it:
Depressive and anxiety disorders are the mainstay of psychiatric practice in the outpatient office setting today.
Some individuals who are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety have no reservations about taking medication; they want something that alleviates their symptoms, and the sooner, the better. Other individuals are quite resistant to being on medication, as they firmly believe they should handle their symptoms without chemical assistance.
However, most fall somewhere in the middle.
Most individuals who come for psychiatric evaluations have mixed feelings about being on medication. They have reservations about coming to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation because they feel they will be pressured into taking medication, or are convinced that psychiatrists are “pill pushers”.
Medication is frequently used in treatment, but many times is only part of the solution. In addition to pharmacotherapy, many people need to make lifestyle modifications or address long standing family or childhood issues in psychotherapy, or “talk therapy”, that have never been confronted.
There are also circumstances where medication is helpful for a discrete period of time. For example, after the death of a loved one, one may suffer from complicated grief and be helped by an antidepressant or antianxiety medication. Someone else might have symptoms of anxiety and depression after giving birth, and be helped by medication. A young adult leaving home and entering college may experience anxiety symptoms that interfere with academic functioning and make the transition to independence traumatic. These situations may be helped by medication for a temporary period of time until stressors resolve. Entering psychotherapy can help people learn coping skills to more appropriately manage environmental stressors. Once those coping strategies have been securely implemented, it may be appropriate for some individuals to experience a trial off of medication to see if they can sustain the gains they have made in their psychotherapy.
Dr. Serrentino sees the benefits of medication for many, but is also flexible and open to the idea that many people are ambivalent. She sees the pros and cons of being on medication and discusses them openly with her patients. Dr. Serrentino has also helped certain individuals appropriately discontinue medication if that is the option they choose. If you feel you may be experiencing depressive or anxiety symptoms and wonder if medication may be helpful, you may contact Dr. Serrentino to schedule an evaluation.
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