Understanding The “Quick Fix”
We all experience pits in life that affect us emotionally. It's a natural human response to our environment and everyone experiences these types of situations.
Some things we can handle in stride and others may affects us more deeply in ways we can't manage as easily. It feels natural that we seek immediate relief from these painful emotions.
In certain situations a short term fix feels like an impulse towards survival, no one wants to be consumed by the painful experiences we all go through and it is a relatable circumstance across the board.
We are human, we have consciousness and complex emotions so it comes with the territory. It sounds cliche but it is also very truthful.
This concept of a "quick fix" in relation to our mental health struggles is founded in the fact that these negative emotions we experience usually don't disappear along with the fix. Typically they remain and can recur again at moments we can't really anticipate.
In the case of depression, some individuals who experience depressive symptoms may turn to other substances as a form of relief. Some of these substances may include alcohol, marijuana, and other types of drugs.
These substances give us an instant relief from our harsh reality, however in the long term we see the destruction they can cause in our life.
The Long Term Solutions Found In Psychiatric Treatment
This concept of a quick fix versus a gradual process can be evidenced in some of the medications prescribed for psychiatric disorders.
We find that gradual prescribing is healthier for the body in the long term as opposed to instant relief.
Antidepressants typically take 6-8 weeks to work for the most part. It takes time for the serotonergic receptor to sensitize to the whole process of starting an antidepressant.
Experiencing a flood of serotonin in the brain would give an instant sense of relief, however, because that receptor is essential in many other bodily functions aside from one's immediate mood, it is a shock to the body and does more harm than good subsequently.
Your body would feel instant relief from depressive symptoms, however, after the immediate effects wear off, the body will be in a state of repair to compensate and make sure all the other bodily functions are operating correctly again.
The gradual process of antidepressant medications creates a much better prognosis for the long term management of depressive symptoms, as opposed to the quick fixes that an individual would have to repeat each time they experience difficult negative symptoms.
The “Quick Fixes” That Can Also Be Found In Psychiatric Treatment
Xanax, on the other hand, works on the GABA-A receptor mainly, and this leads to relief very quickly. The problem with this is the brain starts to crave more and more of the GABA-A neurochemistry transmission in a “drug induced” form, which becomes increasingly more difficult to provide from natural neurochemistry (i.e from meditation, listening to music, or doing activites that at one point produced relaxation).
Alcohol works on the same GABA-A receptor, and works in a very similar manner to Xanax. Long term effects of Xanax (benzodiazepines) and alcohol lead to increased need for greater amounts of stimulation of the GABA-A receptor for relaxation.
The Healthiest Approach For Mental Health Struggles
Patients sometimes do not wish to start the process of starting an antidepressant, because they want “a quicker fix”, and many psychiatric patients are reminded that the process of having strong mental health does not happen overnight.
It is a process which requires consistency and professional guidance. Psychiatrists are trained to help patients manage their symptoms. Some of these symptoms may be the manifestation of more complex emotions and require more treatment than that offered by a “quick fix”.
Meditation, listening to music, can provide us access to a more natural, and holistic neurochemistry transmission. We feel instant upliftment from these activities and experiences without inducing dependence and damage to our health.
These are considered “quick fixes” but have potential to create long term positive change. In addition to these holistic approaches, there are also safe and effective psychiatric treatments available as well.
There is also Ketamine treatment available which theoretically provides access to a deeper neurochemistry to help one psychologically process their own difficulties in life, similar to the pathways of MDMA psychotherapy that has been studied recently.
The path towards mental wellness unfolds throughout the course of our life. Having the proper resources and knowing the most effective treatments that are available to us makes the path easier.