Friday, January 13, 2017

Why Consistency Matters in Your Mental Health Plan

As a psychologist who specializes in working with adults and children,  I’d tell you the most important issue in psychotherapy is how you approach your treatment. In clinical terms this is called treatment adherence, but it can also be known as consistency.

Treatment adherence, the state of your acceptance and follow-through with treatment recommended by your healthcare professional, is critical to recovery. But it's even more important to maintain well-being.

Consistency doesn’t just mean going to psychotherapy. Or taking your medication. Consistency means making every psychotherapy appointment. Being on time for sessions, and making sure you don’t skip treatment because you want to go to the beach or just don’t feel like talking. Consistency means taking your medication every day at the same time, with the same dose. Consistency means making sure you get refills in time so there’s no break or gap in your medication regime. Consistency means you aim to eat well, sleep well and exercise. 

The single biggest issue I see as doctor treating depression is non-adherence - how children and adults become too casual in their commitment to treatment. For many, once they begin to feel a bit better, they stop coming to sessions, or decide not to take medication anymore. The problem here is that while their symptoms have improved, the mood disorder is not at a management level. And as such, relapse occurs

The best way to think about being consistent with your treatment plan begins with aiming for managing your ILLNESS, not managing your SYMPTOMS. When you manage your symptoms, you are only taking care of the surface issues. Managing your illness takes more commitment, but it's so worth it.

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