By John Shin, MD
Medication management and psychotherapy are important treatment modalities to treat various psychiatric disorders, such as Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. However, there are other strategies which should also be an active part of any treatment plan. It should include matters concerning seeking meaning in life, focusing on attitudes, and physical interventions in our lives. Properly implemented, these complementary actions may optimize the medication interventions for any mental illness.
It is important to have some underlying guidance or center in life that is pivotal for which our lives can depend on. That is, a meaning or a sense of purpose in our lives can give us a sense of direction which can help move our lives forward in both times of trouble and when life goes well. As examples, we can have belief and meaning in our family, religion, country, and/or sense of community. Believing in something can give us hope and resilience in our daily lives. For some people, believing in something bigger or greater than themselves can create a sense of meaning and security. It acts like a peaceful sanctuary in times of woe.
The attitudes we hold firm, can certainly impact how we think and act in our lives. If we always dwell in negative and unfortunate events in our daily life, we miss out on the good in our life. We miss the love and concerns of our family and friends, and the beauty surrounding us, especially here in North Carolina with the natural beauty all around us (as an example in NC are the gorgeous beaches and mountains). Focusing on things we are grateful for and thanking those around us can bring a positive energy and lift a low mood, often transforming how we feel from more dejected to brighter. Showing acts of kindness, such as opening a door for a stranger, smiling when greeting others, showing appreciation for what others have done for us, makes dark feelings or attitudes in ourselves lighten a bit. A more positive frame of mind or attitude lends itself to seeing the good in life and make the darker times a little less overbearing. Positive thoughts frame positive acts, which lead to positive feelings of ourselves, others and to the future. Laughing every day could possibly keep the doctor a little further away!
Taking care of our physical body can increase our ability to handle stress more appropriately and to enable us to be in a better position to take advantage of those actions which can add meaning and frame our minds to focus on the present. Eating healthy and appropriately is a jump start to taking control of our lives. Eating fruits and vegetables, cutting back on junk food and processed food, and eliminating fast food makes us feel better. Sleeping well and having a good sleep routine can give a spring to our step the next day, allowing for a brighter attitude. Exercising on a regular basis increases our energy level and decreases our stress level. All these physical interventions, add to our strength and ability to take care of ourselves, promoting good physical health and improved overall mental health.
Medication management is important to any psychiatric treatment regimen, but treatment may not be optimal unless we do other interventions as well. Creating a MAP to help guide our lives and lead a meaningful and optimistic life is critical to the treatment plan. MAP stands for Meaning, Attitudes, and Physical considerations. Understanding what is important to us (Meaning), having thoughts that bring more positivity, smiles, and laughs (Attitudes), and living a healthy lifestyle (Physical) will most likely enhance any psychiatric medication management treatment protocol.
Dr. John Shin is available to assess and treat children, adolescents, and adults in need of psychiatric medication evaluations and management at Behavioral Healthcare Associates, LLC. He is board certified in child/adolescent psychiatry and general psychiatry and has extensive experience in the psychiatric field. He has esteemed colleagues in the same practice at Behavioral Healthcare Associates, LLC who provide psychotherapy services. Sometimes people need a bit of support and encouragement creating their “MAP” as described by Dr. Shin. Psychotherapy may prove to be helpful in multiple ways in a psychiatric treatment plan, but particularly to develop these positive shifts to allow the overall psychiatric treatment plan to be optimized. You can contact Behavioral Healthcare Associates, LLC at 919-292-1464 for more information or to set up an appointment. You may also find out more on our website www.behavioralhealthcareassociates.org