Using non-pharmacological techniques, whether in dementia care, mental health treatment, or practicing self-care, is a step to thinking, feeling, treating, and eventually healing clean. When we heal clean, everyone wins on both sides of those non-pharmacological techniques. How does that happen?
When using non-pharmacological techniques, we have control of what we are doing, when we do it, and how we do it. The 'what' is important to know that the things we are using are healthy for us or with whom we are treating; that we aren't filling our bodies, minds, and brains with toxins, minute killers, carcinogens, or contamination or that we won't have to deal with all these negative side effects. Actually, often times when we use non-pharmacological techniques, there are side benefits to the 'what' we are using. For example, maybe filling out crossword puzzles is stimulating and invigorating, leaving you feeling productive and ready to start the day. But a side benefit is that it is also exercising your frontal and temporal lobes in the brain, among other areas. You feel better and your brain is also being strengthened!
The 'when' is important because you can use your 'what's' in order to prevent any negative states you are trying to avoid for yourself or for whom you care for, or you can use them when you need to. When you use non-pharmacological techniques, they take anywhere from seconds to minutes to start working. However, did you know that an as-needed medication can take 30 minutes to start working...start working? Too long for me! That's not acceptable for me or my patients.
The 'how' is important because we are all uniquely different. How something works for one person may be different than another. Using non-pharmacological techniques allows you the flexibility you need to be successful with yourself or with whom you care for. For example, perhaps you like to take lavender essential oil internally to calm your mind, but you found it works best to diffuse it with your dementia residents you care for right before sundowning to encourage a calm atmosphere for a larger group of individuals.
What all these reasons give you is competence and confidence in that you can do this! You win, and the person you care for, or the family you are around, or your own health wins! You don't necessarily need a pill for this or a drug for that. Sure, times may occur when medication is needed. Always consult with you or yours physician. However, the more you practice taking control over your own health or helping others' gain control of theirs - the more you'll heal clean.