Why is Medication Necessary to Treat Mental Illness?


Let’s envision the two main parts of a computer system: the hardware and software. They both need to perform their jobs in unison to be a single functional unit. Our brain works similarly, where areas require the right balance of chemicals to function properly. The hardware refers to the physical brain, while the software pertains to the set of instructions that tells our brain what to do.

Everyone is born with preset hardware, and we cannot change the true anatomy of the brain to fix malfunctioning hardware without performing neurosurgery. Unfortunately, it can be challenging for some to organically balance chemicals in their brain. This flaw in the hardware could be due to factors such as genetics, environmental factors, or trauma. So, what should you do? 

Why medication works

We can focus on updating the brain’s software by creating an advanced set of instructions when the unit has difficulty functioning properly.

This is when utilizing pharmacotherapy treatments in mental health can improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health illnesses. There are FDA-approved medications available to target specific issues and improve the overall quality of life.

Medication is necessary when swimming upstream in life becomes too difficult, and our brain’s software needs to be revamped. Additionally, therapeutic intervention (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization, and Reprocessing, Somatic Experiencing, etc.) and making healthy lifestyle choices can improve our mental health outcomes and, thus, update the software to the next level.

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How to recognize someone who may need help?

If you notice changes in someone you know, it may be time to let them know. These changes include changes in their physical appearance or behavior patterns, such as a decline in personal hygiene, excessive alcohol consumption, and avoiding social gatherings.

These changes could certainly be a sign of a deeper issue, whether physical or mental, which can cause people to not feel like themselves. Performance changes or absences at work or school also indicate how well someone functions. These signs can be helpful observations in addition to simply asking how one is doing.

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What to do if someone you know is struggling?

Offering support and bringing these concerns to light can be difficult. However, it is important to address any issues and let the individual know you care. While offering your support may seem helpful, the individual may not want to open up. Remember that your goal is not to evaluate or treat the individual but to encourage them to seek guidance during this hard time.

Being proactive about mental health is crucial in avoiding drastic declines or impairments. There are many resources available for all age groups to navigate mental health needs. It’s important to discuss any potential areas of concern openly with that person, whether it’s your child or friend.

Just like we all visit the doctor for a physical check-up, it’s important to do a check-up mentally as well. Informing others who interact with the individual, such as teachers or other family members, can also be helpful.

Always remember help is available at 988 for the suicide or crisis lifeline. If you or a loved one is in need of a mental health check, please contact our office for comprehensive medication management and therapy.