My Voice: Medication is Not the Cure

Medication seems to be a ubiquitous element of our culture these days. Often times when problems arise, medication is taught to be a fix to the issue. Medication however is only meant to help with the symptoms, especially when concerning mental health issues.

Medication will help mask the issues you are dealing with, however they are not a cure. I am not here to say that medication should not be used for helping people with mental health issues. Medication is a great way to assist in treatment.

There are many types of medication for various mental disorders and being prescribed the correct category of medication can make a world of difference.

The main groups of medication for mental illness are antidepressants also referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Another type used is anti-anxiety which can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Antidepressants can be used to treat anxiety also.

Mood stabilizers are often seen used for those with bipolar disorder. Those with bipolar disorder may take medication to help control with episodes of high mania or help with depression. Lastly there are antipsychotics, which help those with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder among several others.

Being familiar with their purposes and involved in your medication treatment can make all the difference and understanding what you are taking and what it is meant to do. Knowing these things will allow you to not have extremely high expectations on what the medication will do.

Often times you will hear people say this medicine is “not working.” In these cases it may be necessary to say, what are you expecting that medication to do? Also, is it the correct type of medication for you? It is also important to remember when using medicine that it may take a few weeks for you to start seeing any relief from symptoms. 

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When starting a medicine it is important to remember that its purpose is to help symptoms get to a manageable place so you can start types of treatment such as therapy. Therapy can be used to help decide what is at the root of the issue and help improve the quality of life. There are many types of therapies and each are specialized for the wide array of mental illnesses.

When beginning the journey of coping with mental illness, it is important to establish an individualized treatment plan. This plan includes diagnosis, type of therapy and medication if you and your doctor find it to be useful.

Finding out and understanding your mental illness can be the first step in overcoming it. I believe that the most important thing to remember when it comes to mental illness is what a friend once told me, “mental illness does not define who you are or what you will become.” Sometimes it is easy to forget that when a certain symptoms of a mental disorder are acting up and it feels it may never change.

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, it is simply the chemistry of the brain. Taking medication to help alleviate symptoms is nothing to feel embarrassed about, just keep in mind that it will not cure your mental illness. There is no known cure for mental illness but things can get better through therapy and medication, if needed.

Ashley Brown

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