Psychotherapy combined with pharmacotherapy for anxiety

Anxiety problems are very common in the general population, but unfortunately not everyone plans to address them effectively and with long term effects.

In many occasions, the priority is to “get out of the way”, to correct what is bothering us right now, without thinking about the psychological wear and tear that involves feeling this way for many months or even years. Therefore, it is common to go to the doctor with anxiety problems with the idea that the professional is limited to prescribing psychotropic drugs for anxiety.

In this article we will see why it is important that this treatment is not limited to drug use and also includes psychotherapy, And specifically cognitive behavioral therapy.

    What are the most commonly used anti-anxiety psychotropic drugs?

    There is a wide variety of anxiolytic type drugs, and here we will look at the most widely used. However, it should be borne in mind that the most popular does not necessarily have to be the most useful or effective for a specific person, and that it is always the doctor who supervises each patient’s particular case who has the knowledge and skills. necessary criteria. to select the medication to use.

    That said, the most frequently used anxiolytics these are:

    • Diazepam or Valium
    • Alprazolam, marketed under the name Trankimazin or Xanax
    • Bromazepam, marketed under the name Lexatin
    • Lorazepam, also known as Orfidal
    • Clonazepam or Rivotril
    • Clomipramine or Anafranil

    What are its effects?

    Each type of psychotropic anxiolytic drug acts differently on the nervous system because there are different ways of producing similar effects in the human body. They all cross the blood-brain barrier that separates the circulatory system from the central nervous system. and they interact with our neurons, triggering reactions in them which, taken as a whole, tend to go hand in hand with reduced anxiety or associated problematic symptoms.

    However, since the active ingredients in these drugs are not smart entities that clearly know the purpose of treatment, they sometimes interact unexpectedly with nerve cells or other parts of the body and give way to unwanted side effects. This is why the treatment of anxiety with psychotropic drugs it should always be prescribed and supervised by doctors.

      And what is cognitive behavioral therapy?

      As its name suggests, cognitive behavioral therapy is a model of therapeutic intervention that acts both on the observable behaviors of the person and on his system of ideas and beliefs (ie, his cognitive processes).

      Thanks to this type of techniques and strategies which act both on the physical and mental level, psychologists we help people develop thought and behavior patterns that promote mental health and the ability to effectively regulate emotions.

      Benefits of Combining Psychotropic Drugs with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

      These are the most notable advantages of resorting to treatment of anxiety with psychotropic drugs of the anxiolytic type and, at the same time, treatment with psychotherapy of the cognitive-behavioral type.

      1. Get to know yourself better

      Cognitive-behavioral therapy it is about getting to know yourself better and knowing yourself better and your own and contextual processes that influence the maintenance of the problem to be solved. We do this both in the psychologist-patient encounter sessions and in the tasks to be performed by the latter between sessions.

      Thus, by seeing in a more detailed and realistic way those aspects of daily life which reinforced the problem without our realizing it, we gained the power to influence our mental health and to fight more effectively with the discomfort and its associated symptoms.

      2. Stop according to the drug use schedule

      For many people who are trying to overcome their anxiety through the use of mind-altering drugs, knowing when they start to decrease the effects of these drugs gives them an additional source of worry and fear.

      For example, there are cases where these people are more likely to experience anxiety issues only to know that in about 20 minutes the effects of the anxiolytics they took will be all but gone, although they may not be able to. take more pills before a certain time due to the doctor’s decision. directions. It is to some extent understandable that this happens in cases where the mind-altering drug is considered the only cure for the psychological disorder that has developed.

      Fortunately, if one associates pharmacological treatment and psychotherapy, the recovery of the state of health becomes “on two legs”And the idea that the effects of anti-anxiety drugs are wearing off is not so much of a concern.

      3. Change habits to promote psychological well-being

      In cognitive behavioral therapy, only the symptoms for which the person has consulted a psychologist are rarely discussed. As a rule, one aspires to produce an overall change in the psychological well-being of the patient. Ultimately, the self-management and emotional regulation skills that patients develop in therapy will not only be applied to this particular problem that made them feel so bad, but will be put to use in the rest of the world. day life.

      In addition, even when it is not explicitly stated, in most cases remission of symptoms that generated more discomfort produces a domino effect in other areas of life of the person, which promotes the ability to be happy and to feel in harmony with oneself.

      4. Be able to adapt one’s behavior if circumstances change

      Psychotropic drugs do not react to the changes that our environment is undergoing: if we go from anxiety to not having a job, to suffering from anxiety and to a new job that we do not want to lose, the action of drugs probably won’t. adapt to this new circumstance. This is part of the reason why it is common to see the need to switch drugs, starting over with another product.

      However, with cognitive behavioral therapy, these sudden changes in daily life do not mean stopping, Since the transition from one set of exercises and habits to another is much easier, so that the patient continues to benefit from the accumulated progress that he has managed to achieve so far.

      5. It does not involve exposure to serious side effects

      Cognitive-behavioral therapy applied to anxiety problems there is no significant risk of serious side effects in the vast majority of patients, which clearly differentiates it from pharmacological treatment, in which there is always a risk to be taken into account (although the danger is mitigated by having medical supervision and being able to quickly change the treatment following their instructions).

      Are you looking for psychological assistance?

      If you think you are suffering from anxiety problems and want to find a solution to it by contacting professionals, I invite you to contact me.

      I am a psychologist specializing in the cognitive-behavioral model and I have spent many years helping individuals and businesses; through a multi-session process, I can “train” you to learn how to deal with your emotional states and the negative behavioral consequences of complications such as generalized anxiety, stress at work, phobias, etc. This way you will learn to change your habits and behavior so that the problem you are having will lose strength. until you can overcome it in the short or medium term.

      You can count on my services in person at my Madrid office and online via video calls; on this page are my contact details.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Azanza, JR (2006). Practical guide to pharmacology of the central nervous system. Madrid: Ed. Creation and design.
      • Gould, RA; Otto, M .; Pollack, M .; Yap, L. (1997). Cognitive-behavioral and pharmacological treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: preliminary meta-analysis. Behavioral therapy 28 (2): pages 285-305.
      • Shoot, CB (200). Combined pharmacotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 20 (1): pages 30-35.
      • Salazar, M .; Peralta, C .; Pasteur, J. (2006). Manual of psychopharmacology. Madrid, Pan-American Medical Publishing House.

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