"Biomedical treatments are superior to psychotherapy because they are more certain to get results". What is your Comment on this assertion?"Biomedical treatments are superior to psychotherapy...

"Biomedical treatments are superior to psychotherapy because they are more certain to get results". What is your Comment on this assertion?

"Biomedical treatments are superior to psychotherapy because they are more certain to get results". What is your Comment on this assertion?

Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a good question, but we need to keep in mind general statements are hard to make. In a complex world such as ours, it is best to be nuanced.  Hence, it is best to say that at times biomedical treatments are better and at other times psychotherapy is better. In other words, it all depends on the patient and problem in view.

If we take an extreme example, no amount of psychotherapy will help a person with schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. They will need to take drugs and take them consistency. Perhaps as a person is taking drugs, some other forms of therapy can take place.

On the other hand, I also believe that we over-drug people, who might not need to take drugs.  In addition, there are unwanted side effects.  If this is the case, psychotherapy might be appropriate to help a person. In short, it all depends on the patient.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As #2 indicates, these different methods of treatment must be assessed on a case by case basis.  The problem with the statement is that for certain disorders, like someone with a known organic psychological problem, there's been enough data collected that can show a particular drug's efficacy, which means the results are predictable. Certainly biological treatments may be the only method for certain organic disorders.  The same does not hold true for "talk" therapy; although that method may be the appropriate treatment for someone who's had some trauma or loss, there's no ability to collect the same kinds of data, and therefore it doesn't appear to be efficacious.  We're comparing apples and oranges here...

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree and disagree with this statement.  Biomedical treatment results are easier to measure and often more certain to get results but not necessarily superior to psychotherapy.  Often,  patients will need both forms of treatment in order to experience lasting freedom from symptoms.  Biomedical treatments are easy to measure and we can be more sure of their results.  Psychotherapy results are not as easily quantifiable since all measures of results will be anecdotal.  In the field of psychology and mental illnesses, I find it an irresponsible practice to favor one form of treatment over another.  Each individual will react differently to treatment so one form cannot be superior to another.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the reservations about dogmatism expressed above.  On the whole, however, if I had to recommend one treatment rather than the other (as opposed to being allowed to recommend both kinds of treatment), I believe I would recommend a biomedical treatment rather than traditional "talk" therapy. We seem to be discovering more and more that the mind is not independent of the body, that events in the brain are chemical events, and that adjustments in the biological and chemical functions of the brain are more likely to be effective than traditional psychotherapy.  Ironically, even "talk" therapy may work -- if and when it works at all -- by helping to alter brain chemistry.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I disagree with the statement. We often think that the body is somehow a kind of robotic machine that only needs a bit of fine tuning with the right drugs to be put back on its feet. Medical evidence would disagree with this view on the body. Although our knowledge of biomedical treatments has increased massively, at the same time there are still massive realms of unknown areas which leave doctors baffled. I personally believe we need to move towards a more holistic view of health that does not regard the body as being separate from the mind of the patient but considers them both together in regard to how conditions will be treated.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Drugs will only work if there is a biological problem in the first place. Some people are depressed, but their brain chemistry really isn't the problem -- they are just overwhelmed by the circumstances of their lives and need psychotherapy in order to gain perspective. Some children are merely "high energy" kids and putting them on ADD drugs can actually have the opposite affect of making them even more energetic.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the statement is true, although biomedical treatments also carry risk and side effects that are sometimes worse than the ailment.  While drugs to regulate the symptoms of depression and more serious mental illnesses have made great strides in the past twenty years, psychiatrists usually argue that a combination of drugs and psychotherapy tends to work better than either treatment alone.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the statement.  Psychotheraphy is not guaranteed to get results because it is essentially not a medical procedure.  Drugs are more likely to get results.  However, the previous post is correct to point out that not all of these results are always going to be positive.  So, on the whole, when we are talking about the human psyche, nothing is guaranteed.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another wonderful topic. I would have to agree with the statement. trying to change how one thinks through talking seldom has the same results as medication. In the end, while medications may be the one treatment which attacks the direct issue, there is never a guarantee that any treatments will work.