Do I Need Medication to Manage My Mental Health?

Having a mental health disorder, and seeking and receiving treatment for it, is challenging for anyone that experiences it. However, the stigmas associated with those who struggle with mental health and need treatment act as barriers that only make recovery seem even more difficult.

If you have achieved sobriety from a substance use disorder (SUD), using medication to help you manage your mental health issues can be a scary thought. Indeed, your concerns are valid, but there is a lot of stigma and misinformation surrounding the use of medication to reduce and treat both mental health and substance use disorders. It is important to shed light on the misinformation associated with managing mental health with medication. Then, you can work with treatment facilities to make the best decision possible for navigating your mental health moving forward.

Addressing Misconceptions and Stigma

To better understand what role medication is meant to play, let’s address some common stigmas and myths surrounding the topic.

Myth #1. Medication does not fix the mental health problem; it only provides a temporary solution.

It is essential to understand that individuals who are prescribed medication rarely take it for their entire lives. Typically, medicine produces changes in the brain that allow an individual to function normally, especially if their mental health disorder is not allowing them to do so.

There are numerous categories of mental health medications that all perform differently. One of the most valuable things that mental health medication can do is get individuals back on their feet long enough to succeed in counseling or other behavioral therapy settings. This approach is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Some medications help reduce the severity of mental health symptoms so that the individual struggling can experience enough energy and motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Other medications aid in concentration and focus, which can be vital for those that struggle with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety-related conditions.

Myth #2. Medication is just a crutch.

Medications are most commonly prescribed as relief aids, especially for those with an insufficient balance of chemicals in their brain to function normally. Just as people with diabetes need insulin to survive, many people with mental health disorders require medicine to function properly.

This myth leads people to believe that if a person works harder in treatment, they would not need medication. However, this is not the case. There is strength in realizing your personal need to take medication for your mental health.

Reasons Medication Is Prescribed for Mental Health

Why do some people need medication to manage their mental health? In general, medication works to relieve mental health disorder symptoms resulting from chemical imbalances in the brain. Medication either works to reduce or halt your symptoms.

The most commonly prescribed medications for mental health include the following:

  • Antidepressants: treats and improves symptoms associated with depression
  • Anti-anxiety medications: reduces anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks, extreme fear or extreme worry
  • Stimulants: used to increase alertness, attention and energy while reducing hyperactive and impulsive behaviors associated with ADHD
  • Antipsychotics: manages psychosis, relieves symptoms and improves the quality of life in those who struggle with psychiatric conditions
  • Mood stabilizers: used to decrease abnormal activity in the brain associated with mood disorders, depression and disorders of impulse control

Will Medication Improve My Mental Health?

It is essential to point out that each person has different mental health needs, and every treatment center will evaluate those needs differently. Treatment facilities that offer medication management know that mental health treatment is complex and, in some cases, medication is necessary.

If you are seeking treatment with the intent of trying medication to improve your mental health, a treatment professional will be able to give you the most accurate evaluation. These professionals will need a detailed history of any medications you have taken in the past, your substance use history and your current mental health symptoms. After getting to know you on a deeper level, the mental health professional will be able to recommend different medications and dosages that fit your unique treatment needs and goals.

Being prescribed medication is only the first step in medication management. It takes several weeks to months to know whether or not the medication you have been prescribed is a good fit. There are many brands of medication that each have specific effects as well as side effects. You must allow time for your medication to work correctly with your unique chemical makeup.

Through trial and error, your mental health professional may suggest that they adjust your medication or switch it entirely based on how your brain and body respond. Fortunately, you can count on your mental health professionals to support you and guide you through the process.

Many people hesitate to wonder whether or not they may benefit from taking medication for their mental health, primarily because of the stigma associated with doing so. Stigmas only make the recovery process more challenging as they develop from misinformation. While there are legitimate concerns regarding medication use, it is crucial to recognize that, in many cases, medication plays an essential role in the recovery process. If you are interested in attempting medication management, reach out to treatment centers for proper evaluation and treatment. DiscoveryMD offers medication management because we believe that medications play a vital role in effective treatment for many mental health conditions. We understand that struggling with mental health can be overwhelming. We are willing to offer you a brighter future. Contact us today.

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