Psychiatric Meds: The Personal Debate Over Use
The rise in use of prescription medication has certainly brought to the forefront a heated debate on about the ease of which medication they are prescribed by medical professionals. The Michael Jackson case, among others, highlighted this. In my own practice as a Psychologist I hear stories from patients about how easy it really was to get Valium, Xanax, Klonopin or other meds. Some medical professionals have the patient try out various meds that are often associated with different disorders as a way of diagnoses. If one med works, that's the diagnosis. But what about the other side, what about the people who struggle with whether they should be taking medication to help them with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and other life challenges.
People's thoughts and feelings in relation to taking medication run the spectrum. Sometimes there are thoughts of failure, being weak, or feelings of shame for taking medication. Other times people couldn't be happier to find a ‘fix' and take it without even considering the side effects.
People often assume that because I have a background in mindfulness that I will be anti-medication. Not at all. Here's the thing, medication is not a bad thing. However, it is important to have a healthy understanding of what the medication is, its side effects, and how long you are expected to be on it for. If you are struggling with severe depression, anxiety, ADHD, or bipolar disorder, it is often best treatment to consider psychotherapy alongside the medication. With certain life struggles, medication may be a short support and for others it may be a lifetime or long term part of your treatment plan. The only thing that makes me hesitant is when it is flippantly prescribed and taken by the patient without due diligence.
The most important thing in my book, is what is going to support you to live a healthy life of satisfaction and meaning. It may very well be that with the support of medication you are able to get back on your feet a bit earlier and begin to engage in practices for mental and physical health.
It's very important to consult with your physician and/or Psychiatrist when taking medication or choosing to change your medications. Always due your own research in addition to listening to the doctor. Ask questions even if your mind tells you that are "stupid." Go online, find out the experience of others. There is an inner voice inside of you that knows the answer, the work is to learn to trust it.
May you be filled with the courage and insight to do what is best for you!