Medications, for the most part, are meant to help long-term with physical ailments and short-term with mental health ailments. Since most of the side effects of medications are not something anyone wants to deal with indefinitely, the next step is to figure out how to take control of a mental health diagnosis. This is where
Talking Through What Worries, Scares, or Bothers You
The biggest part of anxiety is that you are worried, scared or bothered by something that has just happened or something that has not happened but you think it will. These events, whether real or imagined, are the triggers for paralyzing anxiety. In some people, these fears, worries or troublesome events cause them to deactivate their ability to choose. In counseling, you are able to talk about why these events or concerns are bothersome and what you can do when such events come up again. While you cannot take a proactive measure to prevent everything in life, counseling will teach you how to take an active, not passive, stance on what does happen.
Learning Healthy Coping Techniques
With most people who have anxiety, the coping mechanisms they have learned and use for themselves are not entirely healthy. Some people eat. Some individuals sleep a lot to avoid feeling anxious and then find that calm in sleeping. Others may self-medicate with illegal drugs, alcohol and/or self-mutilation. Still more become physically paralyzed by their emotional fears. Instead, your therapist will teach you healthy ways to cope, facing the fears and moving through them.
Some of these healthy coping techniques include:
- Relaxation breathing methods
- Exercise (which releases natural endorphins that calm your body and make you feel good)
- Spending time with friends and talking to them
- Playing with pets, who have a natural soothing effect on people
- Reading or participating in activities that require focus (which redirects your brain from those things that worry or bother you)
You and your therapist may come up with a few others that work best for you, but the basics are listed above.
Moving Away from Medication
When you think you are ready to begin a medication-free life, talk to your therapist and your prescribing psychiatrist. If they think you are ready, they will slowly take you off medication, one medication at a time, to see how you handle it. Continue your counseling sessions and medications as prescribed while each medication becomes less and less dosage wise. If you handle it well, it should not be too long before you are medication-free and coping well with life. To learn more, speak with someone like Timothy D. Berry, Ph.D.