Medication, Counseling or Both?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 16 and I have been dealing with anxiety for a few years now. I have ADHD and a heart condition called POTS. Neither of which are life threatening. I am concerned about my anxiety because the older I get, the more it interferes with my daily life. I have frequent mild anxiety attacks including shaking and sometimes vomiting. I am usually irritable and especially in situations I find stressful. It’s starting to affect the relationships I have with my parents and others. What I’m wanting to know is if I should seek help or medication, or if it is something I can deal with on my own.

A: If you could deal with this on your own, you would have done it already, right? Yes. I think you do need to get some help. But I also think that medication is only part of the answer. Although it might offer some immediate relief, it won’t help you learn to deal with your feelings. The best treatment for anxiety disorders is a combination of medication and talk therapy. The goal is to eventually reduce or even eventually eliminate the need for medication.

I encourage you to find a therapist who is trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). It has been shown to be the most effective therapy for anxiety disorders. You don’t want to be dependent on medications for your whole life. CBT will help you learn ways to manage your anxiety and be more confident in life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Nov 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Medication, Counseling or Both?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/11/29/medication-counseling-or-both/

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