Friday, February 21, 2014

To medicate or not to medicate?

Epic fail for that beach trip. Since I posted that entry it's been raining mostly nonstop. And when it wasn't, I had to work.

Such is my life.

Anywhoo...

I was posting in a message board to someone who was leery about starting medication for her anxiety problem. She said she wanted to treat it naturally, which I can understand.

But it got me to thinking about what signal that sends when we avoid all we can to take medication. At first, who wants to take another medication? There's the cost and hassle of it, and the addition of a medication (especially if you're on other drugs), but many people get stuck on the notion of having to take a "mental health medication."

(So funny, because a friend in an anxiety chat made a great point--it's always referred to as "medication" when it's mental health. But it's "medicine" when it comes to physical health. Right? I told him once you take medication for a mental health issue, it's about taking your "meds.")

I get wanting to be med-free, but if anxiety gets to a point of severe interruption, you have to come to some form of acceptance. Maybe you need a medication. (Or a medicine!) Maybe that drug is only a temporary thing. And most importantly, it will probably give you a little relief so things like therapy and other self-help measures work. Cuz they sure don't seem to when you're a frantic mess like I was at times. Sometimes there is a chemical component to anxiety that can only be helped by taking medicine.

But in avoiding it all together or not even considering it, we perpetuate that mental health/medication stigma that many of us detest. If you  need medication for another condition like diabetes or heart disease, or an eye infection, wouldn't you take it? Probably so.  Most women in labor have no problem asking for an epidural. Why are we so afraid of medication?

Here's the obligatory disclaimer: I'm not a doctor so I can't say if meds are good or necessary or bad. Unfortunately, you have to see a doctor to know. I just think anyone struggling with anxiety for a prolonged period of time, and experiencing major interruptions to their life, should consider going on meds. It's not the end of the world.

For many  anxiety sufferers, it's the beginning!


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