Should I Medicate?

 9th Jun 2017

Coping with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue is hard.

Harder still is recognising you’re experiencing that issue and being brave enough to do something about it.

This cannot be understated.

Admitting to yourself and to those closest to you that you’re experiencing some difficulties is no small thing and should be commended.

Once you’ve given voice to these challenges you then need to decide what happens next.

In some cases the challenges are simply too severe for you to decide on your own, and that’s fine. Your family, medical and mental health services are all there to support you in making the right decisions for your care.

Assuming that isn’t the case, you are presented with a few choices.

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What’s Right for You?

Depending on the nature and severity of your challenges some services simply won’t be right for you. They’ll either be too intensive or not intensive enough.

Referring yourself for initial assessment is the first all important step.

Depending on where you live will dictate whether or not you can self-refer or go through your GP. Whilst going through your GP can take a few days longer than doing it yourself, this isn’t as important as accessing the right service.

This is important because one size does not fit all.

Some may be too intensive for the severity you are experiencing; others may not be intensive enough.

An initial assessment will identify which services are appropriate to your needs and what’s available in your area.

The important thing is that you access the service you feel is a good fit.

But you may not feel ready to access services. If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable, the process of exploring the causes of your depression or anxiety may simply be too overwhelming.

Medication

For many, medication and mental health issues go hand in hand. Depending on where you live in the world the two are inescapably intertwined because they favour pharmacological solutions over psychological.

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Most, when asked about anti-depressants, will think of Prozac and have a much distorted view of what anti-depressants do to the individual.

Of course no medication is without side effects and they can impact on some people more than others but that’s true of any and all medication including the cheap packets of paracetamol from the supermarket.

However the reality is that anti-depressants, as a short term solution can work for a lot of people.

In most mild to moderate cases, medication of this type is designed to temporarily adjust your brain chemistry in order for you to manage your depression or anxiety.

Think of it as a flotation device – it’s designed to keep your head above water. Once you’ve caught your breath you can decide in which direction to swim.

This is important as if you’re feeling overwhelmed and even getting out of bed is a challenge, it can be very difficult to know which decision is the right one in terms of support, care or other services.

For these reasons milder medication can help.

In more severe cases stronger medication isn’t just recommended but necessary and there are those who could be on medication for years.

However, medication should never be sole solution but part of a plan towards recovery.

Ultimately, however it’s down to the individual, their challenges and how best they believe they will cope with the challenges of working through their mental health issues.

What Next?

If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety and you feel you need medication initially to support yourself then you should consult your doctor.

There are certain circumstances that may limit or prohibit the prescription of medication but they will be able to advise you accordingly.

You should also discuss support services, even if you don’t feel ready to engage with them and a date to review the medication – 6 weeks is ideal – to determine whether or not they’ve helped and if you’re experiencing any adverse effects.

Use that time to explore the support available and try reflection techniques to help you cope day to day.

If you would like further advice on getting support for mental health issues or the kind of support available by us, contact us today or click on the links below to learn more.

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