The Overlooked Tyranny of Quick Fixes

6 min read


Source: Pixabay

Advancements in technology and developments in psychiatry have improved, upgraded, and enhanced our lives in so many ways. We’d be remiss, however, if we didn’t examine the associated risks. As we become increasingly used to whatever works most quickly (and with the least effort) our ability to “put in the work” and actually resolve what life throws our way organically, not just cover it with a band-aid, may be progressively dwindling. Many people prefer certain psychiatric medications (or related quick fixes) over learning how to cope with and overcome a problem naturally through psychotherapy or learning long-term changes in behavior. They often rationalize that they “don’t have time.” This may seem to work for some in the short term, but in the long term I argue that it risks creating more issues.

(Note: I am not referring in this post to people who need to be medicated, such as those with mood or psychotic disorders, but to those who may choose medication only, when the issue is likely better addressed behaviorally, either in therapy, or at least in therapy in conjunction with a medication secondarily.)

As we increasingly expect and grow accustomed to immediate relief from whatever challenges or ails us, our ability to cope with and grow from difficulties may be diminishing. Predictably, this makes us increasingly susceptible to developing addictions. And, like an addiction, what starts as a temporary solution may itself become another problem, often worsening the original concern. Below, I’ll elaborate on the potential drawbacks of prioritizing quick fixes and certain psychotropic medications (I refer mainly to benzodiazepines in this post) in the context of emotional and relational healing, problem-solving, and personal growth. For the record, I am not innately against benzodiazepines; they can be very helpful in certain situations, for the right patients. Instead, I am addressing their overuse or unnecessary use.

Key Pitfalls Rooted in Prioritizing Quick Fixes and Certain Psychotropic Medications

1. Temporary Relief vs. Long-Term Solutions. Quick fixes, including psychotropic medications like benzodiazepines, can offer immediate relief from symptoms (Brett & Murnion, 2015; Edinoff et al., 2021). But they usually do not address the root causes of mental health issues, and even sometimes exacerbate them (Brett & Murnion, 2015). They provide short-term benefits without necessarily promoting long-term healing or growth. For example, if you take a benzodiazepine, even at a low dose, whenever you feel anxious, it may rob you of the ability to actually cope with your anxiety over time. This is why Edinoff et al. (2021) recommended benzodiazepines only be prescribed for less than a few weeks in most cases. It is like getting handed a fish instead of learning how to fish. Over time, it can render you steadily more helpless, more easily triggered, and less resourceful and competent.

2. Dependency and Tolerance. Benzodiazepines in particular are known for their potential to create dependence and tolerance. Continued use can lead to a reliance on these medications to manage anxiety and/or other mental health concerns, further compromising one’s ability to develop coping strategies or address underlying issues. The more you depend on them, the weaker you may become, and the more you may start to need them to just feel normal, even when facing triggers or threats that didn’t used to make you feel anxious or stirred up.

3. Masking Symptoms. While psychotropic medications (mainly benzodiazepines) can alleviate symptoms short-term, they may mask underlying psychological distress or trauma. This can delay or impede the exploration of deeper issues that require therapeutic intervention or other forms of support. This point speaks to one of the biggest mistakes in mental and physical medicine of our time: We’ve gotten too caught up in symptom management and often overlook the importance of addressing the root causes of our ailments—emotional, relational, and physical.

4. Impact on Personal Growth. Optimizing for efficiency can often serve us; it becomes a habit for a reason. Sometimes what works fastest actually is best. I’m writing here about what happens when it’s not. As we grow gradually more inured to the lowest-hanging-fruit option, the one with the least strain, it can actually make us less efficient over time. Relying solely on medications like benzodiazepines (when used in certain ways) can limit opportunities for personal growth and development. Healing from mental health issues often involves exploring emotions, developing coping skills, confronting, resolving and healing past traumas, and making lifestyle changes that are essential for growth. Over-reliance on medications can further sabotage these processes. This is why with clients I usually prefer the term “care-frontation” to confrontation because it’s meant to be caring.

5. Potential Side Effects. Certain psychotropic medications such as benzodiazepines can have side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, sexual dysfunction, addiction potential, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. Unsurprisingly, these side effects can impact daily functioning and quality of life, leading the person to need more of them and potentially fueling an addiction cycle. For example, avoidance fuels anxiety, so if every time you feel anxious you’re able to avoid the anxiety-producing stimuli, it can actually sensitize you to anxiety over time—which is the opposite of its intention.

6. Ignoring Holistic Approaches. A holistic approach to mental health involves considering various factors such as lifestyle change, therapy, social support, exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness practices. Prioritizing quick fixes or medications alone risks neglecting these critical aspects of emotional, relational, and physical well-being.

7. Avoidance of Psychotherapies. There are numerous evidence-based therapies and interventions like EMDR, emotionally focused therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, exercise, etc. that have shown efficacy in treating mental health issues without the potential downsides associated with long-term medication use.


While certain psychotropic medications like benzodiazepines and related quick fixes can be helpful for managing certain mental health conditions in the short term, relying solely on such quick fixes or medications may hamper deeper healing and limit personal growth opportunities. If you really want healing, growth, and change instead of short-term relief, it’s vital to consider a comprehensive approach to mental health that involves therapy, lifestyle change, relationship work, and/or exploring alternative treatments alongside medication, ideally under the guidance of competent healthcare professionals.

To find a therapist, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours