The brain-body connection
Coming out of graduate school, I, like all good psychology-trainees, was of the conviction that therapy is the answer, and psych medications...well, not so much. However, over the years, after hearing so many stories, and seeing how people struggle to recover from long-term emotional pain, I've had a change in my thinking. It does seem, in many instances, that a combination of approaches, involving therapy AND medications, gives one the best hope from recovery from long-term emotional pain.
One of the reasons this seems to be the case is that the mind, and the gut, get stuck in a particular pattern of emotional functioning, and, while successful therapy can help to keep the mind from going there again, sometimes therapy can't bring the person back to their previous level of happiness, because it has been so long since the person has felt happy...they have forgotten how to feel it.
Of particular interest to me, of late, has been the connection between the gut, and happiness. The medical field is now saying that there are two nervous systems in the body...the one in the brain, which we all know about, and then, another in the gut. What they are saying is that the gut has the ability to generate emotions, and that includes negative emotions. And...makes sense. How many times have you said you had a 'gut feeling?' or said you had a feeling in your gut? Or that it was a 'gut-wrenching' conversation? Or, have you ever felt that 'pit' in your stomach? There are other examples, but the bottom line seems to be that the gut may very well have it's own nervous system, and thus, may be the area to focus on, in some cases, with treatment-resistant depression or anxiety. Of course, medication by itself is not enough, in my opinion, because without learning how you got to where you got, you are likely to go there again, even if it is successfully treated the first time around.