Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Virtues of the Talking Cure

You take a benzodiazepine like Xanax for anxiety and SSRIs, Cylexa, Zoloft or Paxil, for depression or perhaps an aminoketone like Wellbutrin. But the drugs soon take on a life of their own with the regimen requiring other drugs in order to deal with a host of unwieldy side effects. You’ve undoubtedly witnessed adults as well as children who take drugs to deal with the drugs they’re already being administered. Perhaps you’re even one of those. But why are anxiety and depression frowned upon in the first place? They’re signals that the brain produces and essentially symptoms. If you remove the unwieldy affect, you may not get to the root of the cause. There's an analogy to certain types of gastrointestinal ailments. Imodium may temporarily eliminate diarrhea but if you have a parasite you’re only going to make matters worse. You take a traffic signal from a crossing and you’ll start to have collisions. Of course, there are extremes. Manic depression, bipolarity and borderline are terms that are often invoked to describe certain states that can be so overwhelming as to cause dysfunction. Obviously anti-psychotics are another matter. But what's the psychopharmacology profession seeking to achieve? There are pills to allow one to sleep like Halcion and methylphenidates like Ritalin which enable one to concentrate. Talk is neither cheap, nor always effective (at least in producing a kind of quixotic happiness that some people dream of) but classic therapeutic interactions, in a chair or on a couch, which deal with a patient’s past history may offer more humane and profound avenues of insight that also avoid some of the deleterious results of medication.

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