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by E W

Are psychotropic medications really OK? Or does taking medications mean you're crazy...?

Often, when we feel overwhelmed by our life issues, the “overwhelm” can impair our ability to recover or change. The appropriate use of prescription medications under proper supervision can be useful in giving our desire for change a chance.

Why Consider Medications?

Mental health problems occur when we are coping with issues in life (or not coping with them) in ways that aren't working.

  • We may be “stuck” in a way of interacting, or have thoughts or feelings that we just can't seem to move through or past.
  • We may behave in ways that are unhealthy for ourselves or our loved ones, or not be achieving in life as we had previously.

If we were able to change by thinking as we had always thought, feeling as we had already been feeling, and doing what we had already been doing, then change would have already occurred.

Why use medications?

For many mild bothers in life, we are able to cope, conquer or adapt and get our relationship and mental health needs met - but sometimes

  • Our feelings are just too much, and we have difficulty overcoming them to make the changes we desire.
  • Our habits of thought or behavior seem so unshakable that we cannot see any way to adapt or thrive in spite of them.

Medications may provide that one extra ounce of energy, that one tiny piece of additional power we need to take control and make a change. We may need a lot of assistance, or sometimes, with just a little help, we can find that one piece of the puzzle and take that one necessary step to make the changes that begin making our lives better.

Medications - Not Only for Severe Conditions

Does using medication mean I'm in REALLY bad shape?

Not at all. It just means that it could be helpful to have more resources to get beyond a stuck point.

  1. For some conditions, at some levels of severity, lots of extra assistance may be needed.
  2. For others, with milder conditions, a tiny push – perhaps as small as a puff of air used to blow out a candle – can be all that is needed to help set good things in motion.

There are some illnesses for which a person should use medications to maintain stability over a lifetime, but there are also plenty of situations in which a small amount of help for a brief period of time will be enough. However, you will never know, if you never try.....

Caution but Not Fear

There is a cost to using medications – everything in life is a trade off.

Yes, there are side effects with any and every medication. For folks who are already coping with chronic conditions or using medications to combat or control physical issues, close monitoring and communication will be needed to ensure that medications used to assist with mental health issues do not counteract those necessary for physical health.

Be sure that side effects, cautions, and interactions are thoroughly discussed and that proper usage is completely understood. Never take medications not prescribed for you, and then only after thorough examination by a qualified medical professional.

Life Is Short - So Live it Well

Keep an open mind and your options open...

When we have issues that persist over time, investigating counseling and possibly medications as an adjunct to therapy, can be a useful course of action.

You can begin by visiting your family doctor – and seeking a referral for counseling. Starting with your family doctor makes sense, because:

  1. A counselor who will work with your family doctor can help your doctor also monitor your progress.
  2. Psychiatrists also prescribe medication, and may also do therapy, but you must still work with your current medications for any physical conditions, and so services should be sought in consultation with your family doctor.

You Don't have to Struggle Alone

Life is short and can be lived happily and well. Not conquering every ill that comes our way “alone” and “independently” is not a sign of weakness. In our entire human history, we have ONLY survived because we were able to depend on each other, to rely on our different strengths and resources to help us adapt and learn to thrive.

Dealing with our mental health needs today is just the same – we can use our different resources and strengths to adapt and thrive. You may want to give counseling, plus medications, a try.    

About the author E W:
From Victim Advocacy with survivors of abuse and violence, case management with senior citizens and their families, counseling with at-risk youth and their families, to therapy with adults fighting addiction - bereavement, depression, relationship issues, parenting issues, divorce, blended families, disability, career changes, life changes, my professional experience has encountered it all (so to speak). Fitness, health, coping with chronic illness, aging parents, raising children, job loss, job stress,.... and the list goes on!
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Page last updated May 23, 2013

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