Nowadays a considerable amount of the world population consumes Psychiatric medications. The most commonly prescribed medicines are the anti-depressants. However, not many people know what they are consuming and how these pills might affect or modify their lives.
This is not the only type of medication that is prescribed or might be found in the market; there are plenty of them. The professional would help you find the one which suits you best according to your conditions.
When you are starting a psychiatric treatment, many questions come to mind as regards medication, and its consequences so let’s try to clarify some relevant aspects of it to understand how it works and what needs to be done while taking it.
Before taking any kind of pill, you should take into account certain steps that you might follow to make sure you are doing the right thing.
Firstly, you need to talk about the medication with your psychiatrist and comment on any allergy or problem you have. Then, you need to understand how you are going to take medicine. Follow the instructions to be safe.
On the other hand, if you see any adverse effect or problem, please call your doctor right away. The doctor will handle the problem and let you know how to go about it.
Finally, do not take medicines that are not prescribed by your doctor, psychiatrist or health professional. You might risk your health and face severe consequences on your body or mind.
Does Medication Work?
This might be one of the most recurrent question asked. Its effectiveness is tested, and it has to be approved by governmental entities in your country. The test should reveal that it is safe and effective.
Many statistics in the USA showed that 30% of people present improvements quickly. In the case of antidepressant medications, the result showed that 75% of people improved severe symptoms. However, its effectiveness will depend on finding the right medication for each person, and the precise dose needed.
It is important to highlight that medications do not provide a cure for mental disorders, they are meant to treat symptoms. Thus, you might get a good sleep and nutrition, try to avoid alcohol and non-prescribed drugs to recover or rehabilitate properly.
How Long Does it Take to Take Effect?
Depending on the medicine, it might work in hours, or it might take more than a month to have a noticeable outcome. Some other are used to prevent relapses or recurrence, so they work over time.
How Do I Know it is Working?
In general, psychiatrists advice patients and family to set objectives for the treatment. As medications work on specific symptoms (sleep problems or anxiety, etc.), you should talk to your doctor about the symptoms it is supposed to improve.
Improvement could be perceptible if you have clear goals, you follow and monitor the symptoms, so to have better control over the treatment.
May I Suffer a Personality Change?
The answer to this question is “NO,” your personality will not be modified. The effects might change how you feel, but it has nothing to do with your personality. You might feel more concentrated and energetic; your mind would be clearer, all these variations are consequences of an effective treatment.
Could it Affect My Brain?
Medication for this kind of illnesses is designed to affect the part of the brain which is not working correctly, to improve how a patient feels and thinks and allow them to be more like they want to.
However, there might be some unwanted side effects which could derive from the way in which the medication affects the brain. Of course, there is no magic or perfect medication that could offer only benefits and improvement; therefore you would have to balance side effects and benefits to decide if a prescription is the correct one for you.
Am I Crazy if I Took Medication Like This?
Psychiatrists do not refer to mental illnesses as craziness; this is an old-fashion and unfortunate term which keeps on pervade how people think about them.
It is necessary to clarify that mental illnesses are diseases of the brain and mind, so taking medication is part of a plan to manage and re-establish a normal functioning of a person.
Do I Have to Take Pills for the Rest of My Life?
Because you are taking medication now, it does not mean that you have to do it for the rest of your life. Still, you should not stop taking it suddenly without consulting a professional.
A patient should leave medication in a controlled way, reducing the dose as recommended by the doctor and within a trial plan to avoid relapsing or repeated episodes.
Could I Become Addicted to Pills?
Mental illness medication is not addicting, but some tranquilizers or sleep medication might develop tolerance in our body or dependence in some people. This might also happen with pain medication. If it is the case, each professional will know how to handle the situation and will assess you on how to proceed.
May I Gain Weight?
Many patients are concern about their weight gain, especially women and this is because unwanted weight gain is one of the side effects that medication might bring about. Knowing that it is a possibility, weight can be control, and a healthy diet could help to maintain weight. On the other hand, physical activity might contribute not only to weight gaining but also to mental problems.
May I Consume Alcohol While Taking Medication?
Excessive drinking, in general, is not suitable for any person even if you are not under medication. If you experience alcohol problems or drug abuse disorder, abstinence should be your primary priority. Alcohol may interfere with the treatment by altering your blood levels of medication.
For people with no alcohol or drug problem, it is not an inconvenience to have a drink once in awhile; a moderate drinking should not affect the treatment. Be aware that a drink while taking medication might make you feel like you are having two or three.
These are some of the inquiries future patients, patients and family usually ask when facing a psychiatric treatment. You should have all your doubts removed before stating with any medication. Feel free to ask as many questions as you have so a professional can help you understand and feel more confident about your decision.