Therapy is particularly effective against anxiety disorders, social phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder, though medication is critical for treating other mental health conditions, such as panic disorder and schizophrenia.
Certain types of talk therapy, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy, are as effectivebut not more effectivethan medication for mild or moderate depressions. People with severe depression require medication as well.
"The ideal treatment in most cases is a combination of medication and therapy," says Kenneth Robbins, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Health.com adviser.
"Therapy is a gift"
Improvements in "social functioning" may be the dry argot therapists use to describe patient success. Those on the receiving end of treatment use very different language. Many report that a nonjudgmental therapist eases the loneliness of depression, or lights the way to deeper, closer relationships.