Psychiatric Medications: let’s get the facts straight

Personally, I take a couple psychiatric meds and based on comments made to me I can honestly say, most people really don’t know anything about them. Some misconceptions I hear a lot are:

  • “Aren’t you on antidepressants, shouldn’t you be happy?” – No they aren’t magic happy pills and I can still get sad when I take my medication.
  • “Every school shooter was on the medication your on. You shouldn’t take those, you must be psycho, or not take them.” – well let’s see school shooters clearly suffer from mental health issues and it wasn’t the medication that made them shoot the school.
  • “your therapist just puts a name on anything.” – uhm, this one leaves me pretty speechless. I was in McLean’s for three months with multiple sessions with different therapists and a psychiatrist multiple times a week, I think they know what they are doing…
  • “What do you have to be depressed about?” – this makes me angry, first of all you don’t know what I deal with. Second, ya people have it worse but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel the way I feel.
  • “ADD medication isn’t something people actually need, why do you take it?” – I’m not sure why or how this concept got to be but in fact add medications are extremely helpful for people struggling with ADD to function in society. I like to put it this way, my brain without my adderall is a bunch of topics thrown and scattered about with no rhyme or reason but on my meds I am able to better filter thoughts, remember information and organize the cluttered thoughts.
  • “If you aren’t depressed anymore why are you still on antidepressants?” -they don’t just fix you and then you can stop them. It isn’t an antibiotic, you may be stable due to the medication and coming off of it can in fact put you back into a depressive state. You also should never come off them without being followed and instructed by a physician.

People who don’t support you and your medication use (assuming it’s taken as prescribed and not abused ), they really don’t understand mental illness in general. If a medication helps you to be able to function as a

What people should know:

  1. Needing medication does not mean you are weak. It means you have an illness that requires medication. – I get comments about not being positive enough, or that if you just tried to be happy you wouldn’t need medication. But what people don’t know is the chemical imbalance, I’m not just choosing to be unhappy.
  2. Taking psych meds does not make you a “psycho” or “crazy”
  3. Medications don’t magically make you better, it can take weeks to months to feel a difference. – personally my Zoloft took about two weeks to start to make a difference, it doesn’t mean you will never feel sad or feel down, it helps the lows not get so low.
  4. Getting the right combination and dosage of medication can be a long process – these medications aren’t magic, you won’t feel better right away and it takes work on your part too. But once you find what works for you it will help and you will be able to function in society better.

If you need help find a therapist and get the treatment you need and if it involves medications, don’t let other people say anything to make you feel as though there is something wrong with you.

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