Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT
CBT explores the relationship between an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
By investigating the habitual thought patterns and thinking behind the self-destructive actions of a patient, therapists use CBT to work on changing these thoughts and beliefs to be more positive. CBT is a way therapists and patients work together to change a negative way of thinking in order to further the coping process and mental illness recovery.
In CBT, the therapist has an attitude that is problem focused and goal directed. In order to make progress on changing the maladaptive thought process, the therapist assigns the patient homework and has the patient participate in practices sessions. During a typical session, the patient will identify and explain the maladaptive beliefs, and with the help of the therapist, the patient will begin to challenge those beliefs.
CBT can benefit a myriad of disorders. By addressing and changing hurtful thoughts, patients are able to overcome a wide range of symptoms. However, the positive results of CBT extends far beyond the reports of individual clients. A series of clinical studies have found evidence of changes in brain activity and improved functioning in people with mental illness participating in CBT.
What role does taking medication play in the treatment process?
1. Reduces or eliminates symptoms [Evidenced by placebo-controlled trials]
2. Can prevent a relapse
3. Reduces cravings
4. Increases self-control when in the presence of addictive substances
Sticking to it!
Once a treatment plan has been developed, stay true to it. Take medication as instructed, get therapy, and be proactive by monitoring your symptoms and moods. Keeping a close watch over your moods and changing feelings will allow you to catch a potential mood episode early on.In addition to having a mood chart, it is a good idea to have a list of your potential triggers, so you can see the warning sides before experiencing a mood episode. Some triggers include arguments with loved ones, work, exhaustion, and stress.
Clinical studies have revealed the patients with the greatest recovery regularly took their pills and adhered to a specific treatment plan. Most medications don’t produce instant results, and it takes a couple of months for individuals to start seeing noticeable changes. Sticking with the treatment plan has shown to cut mortality rates in half for people with mental illness.
In addition, failure to follow a treatment plan can have many negative consequences. Depending on what medication an individual is taking, the effects can vary. A person may not realize how helpful a medication was at managing their symptoms until failure to take the medication causes a psychiatric relapse. If an individual is really unhappy with the way their medication makes them feel, it is important to talk to a doctor before making any drastic changes. By speaking with a doctor about the problems, both the patient and the doctor can find a medication that is a better fit.
Reasons people stop taking medication
There are several reasons why people stop taking their medication. By identifying and understanding what these different factors are, caretakers of individuals with mental illness can help them stay on track.
Common Factors that Contribute to straying from a prescribed medication plan:
1. Sometimes, individuals simply forget to take their medication. It is easy to get so caught up in the events of the day, that the idea of taking meds completely slips the mind.
– Get an organized pill-box that has labels with dates and times pills should be taken
– Set alarms on cell phones, watches, or computers
– Remind loved ones by checking in
– Pair the act of taking the meds with another habitual activity. Example: Take meds before a meal, or right after you brush your teeth, etc.
2. A person does not think the drug is contributing to their recovery. Some medications have very subtle effects or begin to take effect over time rather than all at once. This can cause people to believe that the medication is not helpful.
– Discuss this belief with a doctor and have the doctor explain how the medication is working or start a new medication that does work.
– DO NOT stop taking medication without notifying a doctor. The sudden abstinence from a certain medication can cause a serious relapse.
3. A person is afraid of the potential side effects or is experiencing unpleasant side effects from the medication.
– Talk to a doctor about your fears or your experiences. Together you can create a different treatment plan that your body will respond better to. It often takes a couple different drug trials before finding a medication that feels right.
4. The issue of not taking medication may also be a desire to save money
– Personal health should be a priority. Maybe this means cutting costs in other spending outlets like updating your wardrobe.
– If money is extremely tight, there are other forms of payment and different payment options that can be made to accommodate for these tough situations. By talking with a physician, together you can come up with a payment plan that works better for you.
5. One of the most common reasons for the failure to continue taking medication is the individual thought they were “better” and didn’t need to be on medication anymore. Because the symptoms had subsided, the individual feels as if medication is no longer needed.
– Often the reason the symptoms have subsided is because the medication is working. Stopping the medication will probably result in a resurgence of these symptoms.
– Continue to offer love, support, and encouragement to loved ones who are experiencing this sense of no longer needing medication. Try to remind them that the reason they are feeling better is due to the treatment and encourage them to speak with their doctor about how they are feeling. If they truly don’t need medication anymore, a doctor will be able to give them the okay.
6. People were overwhelmed with confusing instructions and the number of drugs they needed to take.
– Again, a pill organizer box with dates, times, and dosage labels can be extremely helpful for anyone overwhelmed with the organization component of taking meds.
– Going over the instructions for the medication thoroughly and even writing them out in simpler terms on a separate sheet can help eliminate confusion from the medication process