The untold story of medication

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Don’t go crying over spilt medication, at least it’s not milk. sharon mccutcheon (unsplash)

Being on medication isn’t the easy way out, it beats you up before it considers making you better

Content warning: talk of medication use/misuse and unpleasant side-effects. 

For those who don’t know what it feels like going through the experience of being on medication, let me give you a sneak peak of what that feels like. There are many people who are on some kind of medication, whether that be for anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc. I want to make one thing clear before I move forward: taking medication does not mean that someone is weak or broken or taking the easy way out. Going through the process of taking medication and constantly evaluating how you are doing and how your body may be reacting is a full-time job. This is not something that is easy, and I raise my hat to anyone else who has or still is experiencing this process. 

Finding medications that work for you is a very individualistic process. What works for one person may not work for another person and it may take you a lot longer to find what works for you as a result. It is also important to note that while some people can get by with using medication only, others may need to pair it with counselling which is a valid experience and option as well. 

With that all being said, it’s time for the real reason I’m bringing this to your attention. If you know someone who is experiencing the process of determining which medications work for them, be kind to them as they go through this. This is not something that is fun for anyone to go through and adding to their discomfort will not be useful. 

What is it like going through this process? I’ve alluded to the fact that it is horrible, and that entails a variety of potential physical symptoms among other battles that you have to fight with. Some of the physical symptoms can be the urge to over or under eat, disruptions with sleeping patterns, changes in mood or general behaviour, heart palpitations, among so many more other possibilities. Each medication comes with its own special set of potential side effects and if you need to take more than one kind, those mixtures can cause different symptoms to appear as well. 

Now – if you’re lucky, these side effects only last for the first couple of weeks. However, they will reappear every time you need to change your dosage. Once you go through the pain and hassle of dealing with the side effects and upping your dosage ,and then dealing with the side effects again, you may be out of luck and find out that this specific type of medication doesn’t actually help you. Guess what that means – you’re back to the drawing board to do it all over again. 

This process is long and it’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only person who is tired from having to deal with it. It can take people years to figure out what they need, which means a new round of side effects every so often as things are changed and modified. 

What else is a major concern when working with prescription medication? Some of these concerns surround the topic of misuse. Whether it happens intentionally or as a result of what is prescribed, this can be harmful to some patients as well. We have all heard the tragic tale of a young star athlete having to go in for surgery, getting prescribed an opiate temporarily to help with pain management after surgery and as a result, they become addicted. That can happen with a variety of prescribed medications. It is so important to be careful and to talk openly with your physician and other mental health professionals if you’re worried that this is something that may happen or is happening to you. 

Although medications are something that can be extremely useful in treating a variety of illnesses, disorders and physical ailments, the process of using them is a nightmare. If you’re hoping for a quick solution to your problem, I promise you will not find it here. 

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