Mental Health and Medication

by Jessica B. November 27th, 2012 | Mental Health
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There is a line in the sand between people who believe that mental illness should be treated with medication and those that feel it can be treated with therapy and alternative cures.

With all of the advertisements on TV for medication for social disorders, anxiety, and hyperactivity, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that pills are just an easy out, and that what people really need to do is get their lives in order. But until you have to battle mental illness or care for a loved one who is struggling, it is very easy to be dismissive of medication. In fact, there are many people out there whose lives are better because of the availability.

Here are some things to consider before you judge someone for taking medication for mental illness.

1) This person is under medical care  – If there is a prescription, chances are the person has been working with a doctor to find a diagnosis. Often medication is only part of the treatment plan, and your friend or family member may not tell you about the other aspects of treatment. This is really not necessarily your business, but you can always ask.

2) This isn’t about treating events – Sometimes depression or anxiety can be made worse by trauma or a negative experience. It may look like your friend was prescribed Prozac because of a break up, but only the prescribing doctor knows all the details, and your friend may not want to disclose.

3) Don’t mess with serious illness – There are a lot of alternative healing methods that can be helpful, but don’t encourage friends or loved-ones to go off medication, recommend a combination instead. I had a friend who lost months when a chiropractor friend of ours offered to treat her bipolar disorder, and then encouraged her to stop polluting her body with strong drugs. By all means, acupuncture and other alignment tools can help, but you wouldn’t advise a diabetic to stop taking his or her insulin and try something else, so don’t tell a mentally ill person the same.

4) Listen and don’t judge – The most important thing you can do as a friend or colleague of someone suffering from mental illness – just try listening for awhile. As long as that person has professional help, don’t be another expert; be a friend.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.