Robert Winer, M.D.

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Medication can be quite helpful in alleviating conditions such as chronic anxiety, depression, insomnia, and attentional difficulties, among others. In some areas, most notably in the treatment of depression, the newer medications have substantially better side-effect profiles than those used in years past, which makes them much more tolerable to take. I’ve seen a wide variety in patients’ responses to medications, with some people getting dramatic relief and others not so much help. That being so, I’m up for giving drugs a try if my patient is of similar mind. Perhaps a third of my current patients are using medications.

On the other hand, medication is rarely sufficient as a treatment in itself. Talking is important too, and actually usually helps more. We need someone to sort out our thoughts and feelings with, to make sense of what’s going on in our lives, so that we can find ways to make things go better for us. That’s where dialogue makes a difference. Sometimes medications provide the sort of relief that actually helps the person to make better use of psychotherapy, and that can be worth consideration. And some of my patients have been opposed to using drugs, for a variety of reasons, and this can be a totally reasonable choice. We need to think about the alternatives together.