Express Your Treatment Preferences They matter! It is important for you to communicate to your doctor what kind of treatment you would like. Although many primary care physicians are most comfortable prescribing medication, say you want to talk to a therapist if that's what you believe would help you the most.
On the other hand, you may have done some reading or have heard about a specific medication that you think may be helpful for you, and be quite clear that you want to try it. It is important that you bring this up so that the physician doesn't give you medicine that you think is only second-best. If the two of you disagree about what would be best for you, make sure that you understand the reasons for the disagreement so that you can come to the best decision together.
Assess Your Motivation The success of any treatment depends on how willing you are to go along with it. Although psychotherapy and relaxation techniques can help many people with anxiety, they won't be effective for you if you don't do them. If your doctor is recommending medication, but you don't want to take it because of your concern about side effects or because you don't think you need it, you won't get much benefit if your ambivalence leads you to take it inconsistently.
Consider How You Will Pay for Treatment These days the funding of psychiatric treatment is in flux. Managed care companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the medical profession are all vying to get your dollars.
It is wise to inform yourself about what the costs of any treatment will be. This may mean a detailed discussion with your doctor about how soon any treatment, such as psychotherapy or medication, can begin to provide you benefits, whether that treatment will need to be continued indefinitely, and how much it will cost you if your insurance company doesn't pay.
Many people are shocked by the high cost of medications for their disorders. Many people are unable to pay the high cost of newer medications like olanzapine, Effexor, and Depakote. Although some of the older medications such as Elavil, Thorazine, and lithium are significantly cheaper, they tend to cause side effects that are more troubling.
Make sure that you can afford medication that you and your doctor think can be of help. It is very distressing to have to stop medication that is effective merely because of cost. It can also be difficult to change medications. For example, changing an antidepressant commonly involves significant ups and downs in a person's mood as one medication wears off and the other one begins to kick in. Try to select an affordable medication at the beginning of treatment.
Consider the Negative Aspects of Any Treatment Any treatment that you choose may have a downside. Besides ineffectiveness and cost, medications commonly cause side effects. Psychotherapy can be time-consuming and expensive. Behavioral techniques and short-term psychotherapy can be helpful in the short run, but the benefits may wane over time. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of the problems associated with any treatment. It is a good idea to explore this ahead of time to avoid wasting your time, money, and effort with a treatment that you are unwilling to complete.
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