By Caitriona McMahon
Many arguments exist both for and against medication in the treatment of mental illness.
It’s even seen by some as a weakness in personality if required. Over prescribing certainly is a problem in Ireland in my view rather than trying alternatives first or simultaneously working towards an end goal.
It is far too handy for practitioners to give relaxants/sedatives etc without any follow up therapy or counselling put in place.
They treat the pain but what about what’s causing it? Hence many patients become addicted to such medication and it’s a vicious unhealthy circle.
In my personal situation no one I knew ever spoke about needing medication to help them through these type of problems and I was terrified of the unknown.
If nobody else needs them why do I? So when I was asked by my therapist would I try anti depressants, that they would really benefit me, I shuddered.
The thoughts of an anti depressant or anxiety tablets made my skin crawl. It was as if each capsule had the ability to rob me of who I was.
The ironic thing is that while stuck in a cycle of resistance the person I once was, was starting to disappear anyway. First I could see who I used to be a finger’s distance away, then at hands reach and eventually all I could see before me was darkness.
This is when I started to question the pros and cons of thinking about trying medication.
For me one of the scariest aspects was the prospect of turning into a zombie, unable to function.
After mulling it over I decided the best course of action was to be honest with both myself and my psychologist.
Could meds make me any worse than I already was? I voiced my concerns straight out. Then together on my terms a plan was put in place, one which I had control of and this helped immensely.
People from time-to-time have spoken to me about their own concerns about trying medication and my answer is this. If I sprain my ankle and need a crutch to take the weight off it to allow me have the energy to rehabilitate the ankle then I will use that crutch.
That said the crutch that suits me may not suit you. Once rehabilitated the crutch can gradually be removed under supervision. The same applies to medication for a mental illness.
I believe each one of us is unique and so every treatment plan should be too.
No matter the colour of the coat or the title nobody knows what’s best for you but you.