In the treatment of psychiatric disorders, medication is only one part of a treatment plan. Medications can be very helpful in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as bipolar disorders and psychotic disorders. Medications that are appropriately prescribed and monitored by a psychiatric mental health provider provide an important role but psychotherapy as well as mind body practices i.e meditation, mindfulness practice and relaxation work complete the treatment picture.
Often, patients ask me if I can only prescribe anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax, Klonopin and/or Ativan. These medications are benzodiazepines. They should only be used for panic attacks or extreme stress as an adjunct medication The use of benzodiazapines can cause a patient to develop dependency on the medication since they are very effective in diminishing anxiety. However, a skilled practitioner will limit the use of these medications and use them only as an adjunct to other treatment. In general, antidepressants do a much better job and are far safer in the treatment anxiety and depression.
It is important that psychiatric medications be prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner since adjustments in dosage will invariably need to be made. A general practitioner, although well meaning, may not adjust medication as needed.