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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Psychiatric Meds: The Personal Debate Over Use

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jul 30th 2009

medicationThe 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!

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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