Studies of psychiatric illnesses — including depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety — have demonstrated the effectiveness of both medication and talk therapies.
In many situations, a combination yields the best outcome.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry sought to determine which type of treatment most patients prefer.
Dr. Kathryn McHugh and her associates from McLean Hospital at Harvard Medical School found that some 75 percent of participants preferred psychological to pharmacological treatment for depression and anxiety.
Younger patients and women were particularly more likely to prefer psychological treatments. The preference was observed both in patients seeking and those not seeking treatment.
Though many psychiatric conditions require medication for therapy, research shows that a patient’s treatment preference influences outcomes as well.
These results suggest that policy makers and medical professionals need to develop strategies to increase access to psychotherapy treatments for the majority of patients who prefer this form of intervention.
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