Author: Dr Alberto Pertusa. Consultant Psychiatrist. Harley Stree. London.
People who come to see me in order to seek help for their anxiety often ask whether medication is necessary to alleviate the anxiety that does not seem to have responded to basic interventions such as talking therapy or other interventions like mindfulness or exercise.
When anxiety is not accompanied by another mental condition, or very severe (for example, Panic Disorder), I tend to explain that it is definitely worth pursuing any non-pharmacological ways to help with it. I very often see that someone who previously did not respond to a certain non-pharmacological intervention can have a very good response to another intervention. Sometimes, even the same type of intervention can have better results when done in a different way. For example, different types of therapy, or exercise regimes, or ways to do meditation or mindfulness, can have very different results on the same person.
The good news about anxiety is that in the majority of cases it can improve significantly with many interventions. I have mentioned a few, but there is increasing scientific evidence that other interventions (e.g. nutritional changes) can make a big difference to someone with on-going anxiety.
Medication, if appropriate, can be used on top of, but ideally not instead of, all these interventions.
Author: Dr Alberto Pertusa