“Offering Hope and Healing”
Benefits of Psychotherapy
As a sensitive Toronto Psychotherapist I would like to emphasize that mental ill-health impacts family life, work life and one’s ability to remain physically healthy. What psychotherapy provides, that pharmacotherapy cannot, is a supportive therapeutic relationship; one that offers examination of maladaptive attitudes and patterns that impede one’s life.
In today’s world, the identification of stressors, differentiating real from imagined stressors, understanding one’s personality style, developing coping and management skills, is vital for sound mental and physical health. Psychotherapy can assist you to develop a more balanced life-style, reduce stress, understand and manage anxiety, depression, and hostility. Psychotherapy improves social function.
Some individuals may be prescribed medication by their physician. Even if one is taking medication, psychotherapy is a very effective adjunct to pharmacotherapy. Given the side effects, any use of medication requires close monitoring by the physician who prescribes the drugs.
Psychotropic medications are often prescribed to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia. They impact your brain function and your psychomotor abilities.
Like any medication, psychotropic medications do not produce the same effect in everyone. Some people may respond better to one medication than another. Some may need larger dosages than others do. Some medications have more side effects and others. Age, sex, body size, body chemistry, physical illnesses and their treatments, diet, and habits such as smoking are some of the factors that can influence a medication’s effect.
A psychoactive drug is a chemical substance that crosses the blood-brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. Individuals may be prescribed medications by their family physicians for depression, anxiety ,OCD, PTSD, and ADHD. How long someone must take a psychotropic medication depends on the individual and the disorder. Many depressed and anxious people may need medication for a single period—perhaps for several months—and then never need it again.
Antidepressant Side Effects
- Dry mouth —it is helpful to drink sips of water; chew sugarless gum; brush teeth daily
- Sleep Disruption
- Constipation —bran cereals, prunes, fruit, and vegetables should be in the diet
- Gastrointestinal disturbance
- Sexual problems —sexual functioning may be impaired; if this is worrisome, it should be discussed with the doctor
- Blurred vision
- Drowsiness as a daytime problem —this usually passes soon. A person who feels drowsy or sedated should not drive or operate heavy equipment. The more sedating antidepressants are generally taken at bedtime to help sleep and to minimize daytime drowsiness.
- Increased heart rate
Both antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are used to treat anxiety disorders. The broad-spectrum activity of most antidepressants provides effectiveness in anxiety disorders as well as depression. Anti-anxiety medications include the benzodiazepines, which can relieve symptoms within a short time. Common side effects are drowsiness and loss of coordination are most common; fatigue and mental slowing or confusion can also occur.
What are the side effects of Anti-anxiety Medications
The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Blurred vision
Side-effects make it dangerous for some people taking benzodiazepines to drive or operate some machinery. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be a very difficult and a very long process. It is easy to become physiologically and psychologically addicted. People taking benzodiazepines for weeks or months may develop tolerance for and dependence on these drugs. Abuse and withdrawal reactions are also possible. For these reasons, the medications are generally prescribed for brief periods of time—days or weeks—and sometimes just for stressful situations or anxiety attacks.
It is essential to talk with your doctor before discontinuing a benzodiazepine. A withdrawal reaction may occur if the treatment is stopped abruptly. Symptoms may include anxiety, shakiness, headache, dizziness, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, or in extreme cases, seizures. A withdrawal reaction may be mistaken for a return of the anxiety because many of the symptoms are similar. After a person has taken benzodiazepines for an extended period, the dosage is gradually reduced before it is stopped completely. Commonly used benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Klonopin), alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).