What’s best for mental health: therapy or medication?

Shaun Webster – Change self-advocacy group
Doctors hand out tablets too often because they’re easier
and cheaper. There should be more therapy on offer, but they will
need to recruit more therapists first. Some kinds of medication are
still OK, otherwise patients would go back to square one, but there
should be less of it because of side-effects

Angie Lawrence – Single mother
It depends on the nature of the problem. Medication is
useful in controlling immediate problems, enabling the patient to
function effectively. So a combination of treatments may well be
best to ensure people can function. But therapy to resolve
long-term issues should also be taking place. Individuals’ own
preferences must also play a part.

Karen Shook – Disability equality adviser
A combination of both is most effective. But many do not
gain services until they are in crisis or are considered a danger
to themselves or others. Medication can be used to “keep people
quiet” either as an in-patient or at home. As a user, I chose
private therapy – I didn’t want to wait months for an NHS

Len Smith – Gypsy activist
Therapy just has to be the best intervention. Drugs, with their
side-effects and dependency problems, should be the last resort. It
also seems to be that drug regimes can lead to a familiarity and
acceptance of pill-taking that can cross over into misuse of
medications and other drugs. I feel this is of particular
importance where young people are concerned.


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