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Michele HappeMichele Happe Blog
A place for discussion of addictions, codependency and eating disorders

Treating Depression with Medication: A Philosophical Approach

Michele Happe, MA, LADC Updated: Mar 23rd 2011

Many of my clients have issues with taking medication for depression. Some are drug free and want to remain that way. Some prefer their own treatment using illicit drugs such as marijuana. Some feel a moral judgment of weakness by turning to medication. I do not argue with these clients. I respect their positions and dedicate myself to working with them from the point of view that they hold.

prescription bottleOne of my pet peeves is people who take medication but refuse to do therapy while on the meds. Some think the meds will fix them. Even some Dr's do not recommend concurrent therapy while on anti depressant medication. I find this to be blatantly unethical and here is why.

I do say this about medication. Medication is not a solution. It is a tool. Efficacy of medications are enhanced with therapy. The reason for this is that anti depressant medications in effect change the pathways in the brain. These changes are enhanced by learning caused by mindfulness that comes with therapy. It is very enlightening to experience a state of detachment that some medications create. When you commit to remembering this state, which at times is quite novel to the client on meds for the first time, you have a better chance of success of maintaining this state without the aid of medication.

I always recommend that my clients titrate down on their medication after a year with the help of their Dr. This is to see if they are able to "remember" what they have learned from the effect of the medication. Some do and some do not. If they do not it does not mean that they are therapy failures. It is an indication that they have deeper biological and more entrenched issues with depression.

It is very important to use medication as a tool rather that a solution. This attitude promotes our own active participation in recovery from depression whether we have entrenched biological depression or fleeting situational depression. What we learn while on meds can be remembered if we are actively mindful of the beneficial effects of the medications we take. If we cling to the medication as the solution, how likely are we to be successful to find our own ways of dealing with our issues while on or off of medication.

Be well...

I welcome your comments.


Michele Happe, MA, LADCI am a licensed addictions therapist that specializes in addiction and codependency. I use Buddhist principles to aid in recovery and to help promote happiness. I also write and teach about these issues. I have a private practice in Minden, NV and Reno, NV and work nationally on the phone(775)230-1507 and through skype (mhappenow). My webpage is Join me on Facebook for lots of mini teachings.

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Treating Depression - Robert - Jul 13th 2011

Most people suffer from depression but we cope in different ways - Tables is not the solution. Just take one day at a time.

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