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My psychiatrist of two years has had me on medication, but never once suggested therapy. Is this a problem?

17 Answers
Last Updated: 09/08/2020 at 6:32am
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United States
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Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.

Top Rated Answers
February 22nd, 2017 11:29am
Psychological problems may have complex causes. To a degree everything that happens to a person IS "biological"; but there is also other external influences that can cause trauma (such as social events, abuse from other people, external stressors such as a hostile work environment or family environment, conflicts with loved ones in a relationship). A prescription alone is only designed to change a person's biology. It does nothing to change the external social/environmental influences that may be triggering the problem, acting as stressors, causing the problem and its symptoms to re-manifest itself. For many psychological conditions, a combination of medication AND therapy have proven to be more effective than either of those in isolation. As the client, it is your right to have certain expectations to receive quality care. You should feel comfortable to inquire why he is prescribing you this treatment, and if there are other avenues that you would like to try that might be more effective. It's YOUR mental health after all... If you feel like the treatment your psychiatrist is prescribing so far has been inadequate - Get a second opinion. Also, there are various resources available on this site (including qualified therapists) that may provide some guidance as to how therapy may supplement your mental healthcare.
March 8th, 2017 12:21am
If you feel that the treatment your psychiatrist has sought out for you isn't the best, it could be good to bring that up with said psychiatrist. What has made you ponder the possibility of therapy lately?
March 13th, 2017 4:10pm
I find that strange, as most of the time psychiatrists will not offer medication without therapy, but I would not consider it a problem. If you are feeling that medication alone is not working, you can ask your psychiatrist about therapy or seek therapy on your own. If you are not happy with your current psychiatrist, you can also seek a different one.
March 1st, 2017 9:49pm
Not necessarily. They may think your symptoms are being managed effectively with medication alone, or have other reasons for not suggesting therapy. Not everyone sees a psychiatrist and a therapist at the same time. If you feel like speaking with a therapist could be potentially helpful for you, you could talk to your psychiatrist and ask them to recommend one. You don't usually need a referral, though, so if you feel you need to see a therapist you can also look for one on your own regardless of what the psychiatrist says.
March 9th, 2017 10:20pm
There are quite a few studies which suggest that talking therapies are as effective as medication. To me, it would seem best if your psychiatrist discusses all of the options with you and makes a decision with your input. You might find this article about medications vs. therapy interesting: As Laraland said, you should probably discuss these concerns with your psychiatrist.
March 10th, 2017 11:14am
If you feel therapy is a good option for you or you're thinking/considering it: how do you feel about asking your psychiatrist about the possibility of therapy? Truth is, if you feel therapy will help you or you're willing to try, or just have some questions, it's your choice and you're free to ask your psychiatrist about it. And chances are, your psychiatrist can give you some input or know any therapist that may be specialized in what support you need. It's okay to ask your psychiatrist questions about your treatment, your options and discuss with them any resources or things that you feel might help you.
April 2nd, 2017 12:37am
In the USA Psychiatrists have mostly gone away from providing talk therapy. Their expertise and practice is primarily geared toward prescribing and managing prescription meds. SW, psychologists, LPC etc. do the talk therapy and are readily available (with no side effects).
July 18th, 2017 7:57pm
Are you satisfied? Are you feeling better? If you are not getting any better, start concidering another opinion....sometimes even different therapies might not work for us the same If you'd try therapy, go for it Your psychiatrist thinks one way, but if you think you need therapy, then problem exists... You know whats best for you
September 19th, 2017 5:49pm
Yes, because without therapy you will not be able to tackle the underlying problems and issues beneath the psychological disorder you were diagnosed with.
January 8th, 2018 12:54pm
May be the psychiatrist have assessed that therapy treatment for your problem wont work or will be more than enough to handle. May be you might have not opened up completely on your problem with your psychiatrist.
January 8th, 2018 2:00pm
I think that doing medication does not always lead to therapy. Just try to make sure that the psychiatrist cares about you and try not to get addicted to it. Ask her for advice. Chances are, psychiatrists know how to keep you safe and healthy.
January 9th, 2018 5:56am
Yes. Taking medication as prescribed is only one part to the "mental health puzzle" in most, if not, all cases. In order to complete the entire puzzle, therapy is quite valuable and very complimentary to medication. Given the proper therapist, a person can progress in many ways in their journey to resolve their mental health issues.
March 26th, 2018 10:59am
It doesn't have to be a problem. Some people respomd better to medication, some to therapy, some to the mixture of both. It might be that your psychiatrist thinks therapy is the best for you at this point. Why don't you ask them about it?
April 2nd, 2018 4:40pm
Depends on the issue you had, If It was something temporary that you had to go through, medication can help you go through it. If its something that can come back, you need therapy.
June 11th, 2018 9:47pm
Not necessarily. Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in medication related to mental illness. Many of them do not practice therapy themselves. Your psychiatrist may not feel like therapy is necessary for you, but if you think therapy could benefit you, you should seek a therapist out. Your psychiatrist may be able to recommend a psychologist or licensed professional counselor in your area.
June 18th, 2018 7:52pm
Most psychiatrists are aware of the fact that medication works best when combined with therapy. But they rarely offer therapy. Maybe you can ask them about it. They probably know a therapist and can help you contact with them.
September 8th, 2020 6:32am
medication alone doesn't work, it should be a balanced combination of medication and therapy. you also don't want to just be on medication for the rest of your life if the issue is something that can be solved by learning coping mechanisms and working through it in therapy. i'd even argue that therapy is the most important thing and that medication can be an addition for those who feel that they really need it. you should seek out therapy, you may even find that you are able to work through your problems in therapy without the need for medication (depending on what it is, this doesn't apply to every illness)