Day 22: What is your opinion on medication used to treat mental illness(es)?
When I first began CBT in January, I was completely opposed to medication. I had been on anti-epilepsy and anti-seizure drugs when I was on the hunt for relief from my chronic migraines and they made me unbearable. I felt miserable and I was miserable to be around. And the worst part was, I didn’t get any relief for the migraines. With this awful experience on my mind, I was very adverse to any conversation having to do with medication for OCD.
After about 8 months of treatment, I had made progress but was still struggling more than was necessary. My therapist suggested I think about it and look into my options, just for the information. I did my research and some serious thinking and decided that it was stupid to not give myself the chance to get better, faster. I started Zoloft in August and I’ve only had my dosage increased once. I have Ativan for panic attacks or when I know ahead of time that I’m going to be in a very stressful situation, like flying or an interview, for example.
I do think that oftentimes, doctors are quick to prescribe medications before they really get to know the patient’s issue(s) and I would lean more toward over-prescribing than under-prescribing. But I also feel like so many people abuse the system to gain the medications they want. I think that medication is such a difficult topic and decision that it really needs to be made on an individual basis but with the assistance of therapists, MD’s, family or other support system. Medication is not a decision to take lightly, as it often takes a long time to find the right drug, dosage or combination to maximize the benefit. Not to mention the potential side effects, the long ramp-up period for SSRI’s and the commitment it takes to ween yourself off the drug when you decide to come off of it. If the benefit outweighs the risks/side effects, I think it’s worth a shot. If not, try a different approach. The important thing is not to give up. Keep fighting!