Considerations Before Taking Mental Health Medication

There is still a lot of misunderstanding, fear and discrimination surrounding mental health treatment. Perhaps no issue is more stigmatized than taking medication. Due to the misinterpretation and beliefs surrounding medication, you might have many questions. Before you become deterred from pursuing possible medication that can help, let’s look at some of the common questions and concerns you can consider before deciding if medication is something for you.

A common concern when beginning medication derives from the fear of the unknown.

You might worry if your medication will change you. Such thoughts might occur because you have lived your life one way for so long that you might worry about who you will become if you take medications However, you should instead consider how your medication might empower you to become more of yourself. While there is some truth that many people on health medications report changes in how they lead their lives, generally people adapt and benefit over time.

Mental health medication addresses the psychological symptoms of your disorder. Such symptoms can affect parts of you beyond your control, including sleep, appetite and loss of motivation and energy. These symptoms have nothing to do with who you are. Research supports that most changes that occur due to medication are associated with reducing such symptoms and are usually positive. While it can be scary to imagine living life differently, understand you can help how your brain functions through medication. Medication can help your brain function better to overcome negative symptoms and help treatyour mental health issue.

Taking medication for mental health is not a sign of weakness. 

You might exhibit self-doubt and frustration for “depending” on medication to be a “normal” person.. You might want total control of every aspect of your being, including thoughts, behaviors and accomplishments and when you encounter something uncontrollable like a mental disorder, it could cause you to blame yourself for not being able to feel better.

Instead of blaming yourself for your illness, think of it this way: your brain relies on a healthy flow of neurotransmitters and chemicals to work and thrive. While some brains produce these chemicals naturally, others require assistance, just as some bodies can produce insulin while others require supplementation. Brain health is the same as other conditions like diabetes or heart disease that benefit by applying proper medications Therefore, you are not weak for wanting to help bring balance to your brain functioning and overall health.

Mental health medications require oversight to determine if they are addressing your needs correctly.

Research shows that medication is not enough to manage mental health symptoms fully; it requires additional therapy, home practices and remedies that you can implement along with medication

mental health professional can examine changes and provide insight into your symptoms. They can also help you communicate your needs to your prescriber. Since some medications can have serious side effects, you should have someone help you track your reaction to them.

It is important to remember that taking medication is not an easy fix.

You might become frustrated or angry if your medication does not entirely improve your symptoms. Medications may remove some of the unpleasantness; however, they do not provide you with the coping skills and education necessary for making lasting changes in your lifestyle , behaviors, and environment. Medication only helps you succeed. You still need to put in work to sustain lasting health. It is essential to continue to seek therapy and participate in practices at home such as meditation, exercise and staying connected with others.

Mental health professionals use multiple therapeutic orientations and techniques to help you unlearn old coping methods and instill newer, more adaptive ways to make meaningful and lasting changes.

If you have previously struggled with addiction, it is natural to worry about whether taking medication will develop a dependency. 

Research suggests that mental health medications have low addiction potential. More commonly, when you stop taking medication, your brain experiences a resurgence of negative symptoms. Though this is not a symptom of addiction, it is due to your brain reacting to negative thoughts and feelings that it has not had to deal with in some time. It is essential to work with a mental health professional to help you determine the differences between distress, withdrawal and possible addiction.

Alternatively, some psychotherapeutic drugs can foster physical or psychological dependence. They could also produce severe withdrawal when discontinued. However, such drugs are typically short-term interventions and not for long-term daily use. There is also a carefully monitored weaning-off process to help you transition to long-term medications. Or course, if you are concerned about developing an addiction, talk with your doctor and mental health professional to see about alternative options.

Deciding to use medication should not be an intimidating or scary process. It can be one of the most rewarding things you do to help improve your mental health issues. At DiscoveryMD, we provide the professional resources and knowledge to guide you through making difficult decisions regarding your mental health. If you are currently considering medication to aid your mental health needs, contact us today.

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