Young adults experience mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, which may require the use of psychiatric prescriptions. However, as young adults form a therapeutic mental health plan, treatments like individual counseling and/or group psychotherapy should be included to address the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with social and emotional health.
Is there a pill for that?
For fast relief, take two pills with a full glass of water and you’ll feel better in a jiffy. Sound familiar? Pharmaceutical companies spend a fortune to get consumers to believe in and buy a full regimen of daily pills and potions promising to cure medical and mental health concerns.
Popping a prescribed pill might work as the sole relief needed to get rid of a temporary headache or bout of acid reflux, but the idea of a quick medicinal fix is not the way young adults should approach treatment for mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.
There is no arguing that certain young adults clearly benefit from a therapeutic plan which includes psychiatric prescriptions. However, thinking that a psychiatric prescription will relieve all of the symptoms, behaviors, and insecurities that go along with a mental health diagnosis, is a fallacy. It is important to honor the complex human struggles that have and will continue to disrupt brain neurobiology leading to the formation of psychiatric symptoms.
An expert’s view
In The Antidepressant Generation, Doris Iarovici, M.D., a psychiatrist at Duke University Counseling and Psychological Services, describes how record numbers of young adults are prescribed psychiatric medications. (New York Times) Her observations indicate that because writing a prescription is usually a less expensive and time consuming route to treat social and emotional concerns, psychiatrists are quick to prescribe antidepressants. In doing so, Dr. Iarovici argues that solely relying on medicinal therapy takes away the opportunity for young adults to experience the situations and feelings often leading toward personal growth and maturity throughout the transition to adulthood.
Combining therapy with medicine
Young adults who struggle with mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, need a therapeutic plan which includes a variety of opportunities for self-discovery and self-expression. While the plan may include a daily psychiatric prescription, young adults should invest less of their energy on taking pills and put a greater deal of effort toward processing their feelings. Young adults need to build healthy coping skills in order to overcome the common and stressful situations of adulthood, while learning how to recognize and respond to when emotion takes over rationalization. These tasks cannot be taught by any medication out there.
A combination of therapies paired with a routine of psychiatric prescription will help young adults with anxiety or depression reach social and emotional wellness. Individual counseling or psychotherapy is a wonderful outlet for young adults to build a trusting relationship with a mental health provider in a confidential setting. Eventually, as young adults feel comfortable with their counselor, they may expose their innermost fears, attachments, insecurities, or anxieties and learn how to move forward. Group therapy allows for supported social interactions with peers while adapting to healthy routines. Alternative therapies like art therapy, yoga, and meditation should also be incorporated in a well-rounded therapeutic plan.