Pros and cons of lengthy mental health treatment

It’s easy to see why people might want to give prolonged therapy a try. They might be looking to get better, or they might simply want to avoid the stigma of seeking professional help.

It’s important, though, to weigh the pros and cons of prolonged treatment.


Some people can benefit from longer periods of therapy.

People with mental health conditions often require long-term treatment to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. In some cases, it can take a toll on their mental and physical health.

Longer-term therapies can also teach people coping skills that can help them manage their mental health and reduce their symptoms of anxiety, depression, or another condition.

The good news is that there’s no research to show that prolonged therapy doesn’t work. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that it’s very effective.

An earlier study found that for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 12 weeks of prolonged exposure therapy was just as effective as shorter-term psychotherapy.

Another study found that people with panic disorder who underwent prolonged exposure therapy experienced fewer panic attacks.

These findings suggest that prolonged therapy can help people manage their symptoms.


Long-term therapy isn’t right for everyone.

It’s true that prolonged treatment can be important for people with certain mental health conditions. Still, it’s not for everyone.

For example, some doctors may not recommend it for people with ADHD since it can take a toll on their concentration and attention.

It’s important to understand the pros and cons of prolonged treatment so that you can talk to your doctor about your options.

Keep in mind that prolonged treatment can have risks. For example, it can cause people to feel anxious or depressed.

Also, some people are at a higher risk for relapse or withdrawal if they try to stop treatment early.

Keep in mind that prolonged treatment is just one part of a bigger treatment plan. For instance, you may need to see a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist as well.

You might not have to continue therapy indefinitely, and your doctor may even recommend that you stop therapy once you feel you’ve had enough.

Your doctor may also recommend a different type of therapy if an intervention works better for you.

Your doctor can help you decide whether prolonged treatment is right for you.

How long should you go?

The length of therapy for a specific condition will depend on the severity of the condition and your preferences.

Some people may need less therapy than others. For example, people with milder cases of anxiety, depression, or PTSD may only need a few sessions.

For severe conditions, you may need more therapy. For example, people with PTSD may need a minimum of 30 sessions over the course of several months.

Other people may prefer to take their time and learn about the disorder as they go.

Most people who choose to continue with therapy find that it helps them better manage their symptoms.

Some people may need more than one type of therapy, and some may need a combination of therapies.

What to expect?

If you’re considering therapy, the process can be long and complicated. In some cases, you may even need to see a combination of different therapists.

Here’s what you can expect:

1. Initial session

Your therapist will start by meeting with you to talk about your symptoms and how they affect your day-to-day life.

Your therapist will ask you about your symptoms, how long they’ve lasted, and how you’ve been feeling. They’ll also want to know how your symptoms have affected your family or friends.

Your therapist will want to know about your other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. You’ll also want to tell them about any medications you’re taking.

It can be helpful to list all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal of your symptoms and how you feel during treatment.

2. Ongoing sessions

During the first few sessions, you’ll meet with your therapist about once a week. They’ll likely bring you with them to the next session so you can get to know them.

They’ll want to know about your other mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. You may also want to tell your therapist about any medications you take.

Your therapist may ask you to keep a journal of your symptoms and how you feel throughout your treatment.

Your therapist may recommend different types of therapy based on whether your symptoms are mild, moderate, or severe.

They may also recommend psychotherapy, talk therapy, or medication for you.

3. Long-term treatment

After a few sessions, you may want to continue with therapy. Your therapist may recommend this if you feel you’ve exhausted other options.

Your therapist may also recommend a different type of therapy or a combination of therapies.

Depending on your needs, your therapist may suggest that you try a different type of therapy if one doesn’t work.

They may also recommend a combination of therapies. For example, you may want to see a therapist that specializes in depression and anxiety, or a therapist who specializes in treating PTSD.

You may choose to stop therapy once you feel that you’ve had enough. At that point, you may simply want to come back to your therapist to talk about what you’ve learned in therapy and whether you still want to continue.

Your doctor will help you decide whether to continue therapy, and if so, how long you should continue.

How does it compare to medication?

There are several different types of psychotherapy.

Therapy can include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy.

According to the American Psychological Association, talk therapy is typically used for short-term conditions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is typically used for longer-term conditions, but it can also be used for brief periods of time.

Psychodynamic therapy is used for both short-term and long-term conditions.

You may also be prescribed medications, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors).

Medications can help to relieve symptoms and reduce the frequency of your symptoms.

However, they can also have side effects, such as nausea, sexual dysfunction, or sleep problems.

Psychotherapy can cause side effects, too.

It’s important to remember that therapy is about your overall well-being and not just treating specific symptoms.

What therapies are there now?

There are several different types of therapy available. Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common ones.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT is an evidence-based therapy that’s used to treat depression and anxiety.

It’s based on the idea that your beliefs affect how you think and feel, and changing your thoughts and feelings can change your emotions.

CBT is a short-term treatment that can last anywhere from 4 months to 2 years.

It’s used to help people learn to identify the thoughts and behaviors that cause them to feel anxious or depressed.

CBT can help you learn to make more positive connections between your thoughts and feelings.

CBT includes:

  • Identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts
  • Identifying physical responses to negative thoughts, such as a fight or flight response
  • Identifying behaviors, such as alcohol or drug use, that you may have been avoiding as a way to cope with negative thoughts and feelings

This helps you learn to recognize and change the negative thoughts and behaviors that are affecting your emotions and your overall well-being.

CBT can also help you learn how to identify and understand your triggers and how to avoid them.

CBT is generally recommended for people who feel that they need to be in treatment for a long period of time.

A meta-analysis of CBT trials found that CBT is an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy. The American Psychological Association doesn’t have a formal definition of psychotherapy, but it’s generally thought of as a type of talk therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally considered a short-term treatment. It’s usually used for people who have a mental health condition but don’t want to continue with medication or other types of therapy.


Mindfulness is an approach to learning to focus on the present moment and be aware of the thoughts and feelings that come up.

It’s thought to be especially helpful for people who are dealing with stress or anxiety.

Mindfulness can also help you learn how your thoughts and emotions can be relaxed, even when you’re feeling anxious or stressed.

Mindfulness can help you learn to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings. This can help improve your ability to manage them.

Mindfulness can also help you learn how to calm your body to reduce stress.

It can also help you learn how to relax and reduce your stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness can be done in a variety of different ways. Some people may practice deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.

It can also include listening to different types of music and watching funny or inspirational videos.

In some cases, your therapist might suggest that you try a combination of different types of mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be helpful for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

The bottom line

If you’ve tried other treatments and still feel stuck, or you need help, consider speaking with your doctor or mental health professional.

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