Xanax Makes Me a Better Mom
A record number of moms and dads are taking anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants, but some experts believe we're just dealing with the everyday roller coaster of parenthood with a small blue pill. What's the answer?
Every morning John Buffington, a father of two in Philadelphia, pops a Claritin and 20 milligrams of Celexa. “While it was different for my dad's generation, I'm taking on a more nurturing role at home. To do that, you have to be in touch with your feelings,” says Buffington as he gives his 9-month-old son a bottle. “Celexa helps me do that.”
What about talk therapy? “I spent a couple years in therapy, but then the insurance stopped covering it and it became too big of an expense.”
This is a common scenario: Getting the medication is relatively cheap and easy, and talk therapy is expensive and hard. If the meds make you feel normal, why do anything else?
“You should not take psychiatric medication unless you are in psychotherapy,” says Carole Lieberman, M.D., a psychiatrist and faculty member at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “The medication is a Band-Aid to combat the symptoms while you work on the root of the problem.”
The American Psychological Association (APA) is working to promote talk therapy, which is an uphill battle against the seemingly endless TV commercials. “Compared with medication, psychotherapy has fewer side effects and lower instances of relapse,” states Katherine Nordal, Ph.D., the APA's executive director of professional practice.
“If your partner is dealing with these issues, push them to start—and stick with—talk therapy,” says Berman. “Therapists give you the tools to manage your triggers.”