• TaliaGrace

Medications

Medications can be life saving and a fantastic way to aid yourself when trying to harness your mental health; I've taken them most of my adult life. That being said, if abused, the consequences can be fatal, and I think in general they should be something of a last resort. A primary risk with most medications is dependency. Once your body adjusts to a new chemistry, it's difficult (and often ill advised) to reduce your dosage or stop taking the medication because of the significant risk of a relapse or other withdrawal symptoms.


Anxiety and/or depression medications are generally not highly addictive which makes them slightly less scary to many. My only advice to those considering starting a medication is to talk to your doctor and pharmacist about various different options, and make sure you get a clear picture of whether or not the dosage of the medication can be adjusted or removed without significant withdrawal symptoms. There will always be some side effects and risks when changing a dosage or discontinuing use, but they should be able to give some idea of how discontinuing one type of medication compares to another. There are also some medications that don't need to be taken every single day; see if there's one that could work for you!


ADHD medications tend to be highly addictive. If you're someone that already has an addictive personality then I would seriously try to steer clear of these. One advantage of some of these medications is that they don't need to be taken everyday, because the effects only stay in your system for a set number of hours (length will vary with each type). A catch with many of these medications is also the cost. Depending on the type of drug, and the dosage, they can reach up to a couple hundred dollars per month (without insurance). Some of them are covered under OHIP+ however, the cost should always be taken into account especially if you don't have insurance, or you'll be turning 25 soon and will no longer be covered by OHIP+.


When starting a new medication, there will usually be side effects, typically they won't last very long. Furthermore, there may be a case where you try one that just absolutely does not work for you. When I tried a medication for ADHD, it triggered such bad anxiety that I could barely get myself to class, and then when I did, I walked out crying. Thankfully in that case I was able to just stop taking it entirely and I was fine by that night. If you're planning to try something, consider starting at the end of your workweek so you don't run the risk of falling too far behind. If you have tried every other strategy and you still can't cope with your symptoms then of course consult your doctor about starting medication; but I'll always maintain that they should be a last resort especially with children or anyone that has a tendency to become addicted or dependent on things.


I'm going to repeat myself and note that medications should really be a last resort. At the end of the day, if you're able to control your symptoms with lifestyle changes then you'll inevitably be better off for various reasons: you won't have the additional cost of medication, you'll spend less time at the doctors, you won't have any side effects, and it's just one less thing to worry about. Of course though, there are cases when medication is the only viable way to get a hold of your health (I obviously am an example of such a case). Weigh your options, talk to your doctor and pharmacist, and decide which path will be best for you in the end. No matter what, don't let anyone else's comments about whether you should or shouldn't be on them make your decision. It's your body, your health, your choice.

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