I wanted to add something since it is technically still suicide awareness and prevention week, and I find the topic of psychiatric medications to be something worthwhile to talk to all of you about in general. Before I say anything else, I really want to be clear that I am not advocating, nor discouraging anyone from going on any type of medication. That is an extremely personal choice and I believe everyone has the right to make their own decision about whether or not they take an anti depressant, anti psychotic medicine, anti anxiety, sleep medicine, etc.
Having said all of that, I do want to talk about these medications in terms of suicide prevention and awareness. Psychiatric medications are, of course, supposed to help people with whatever emotional issues they have, whether it is situational or a chemical imbalance. They were put on the market to be beneficial and have saved many lives. The FDA approves medications for a certain purpose, or for a variety of things (ex. Anti depressants can be used in those suffering with depression and/or anxiety). However, drug companies do try to market their drugs to doctors for uses other than what they have been FDA approved for. It is a business like any other. The more symptoms drug companies tell doctors their medication can help treat, the more prescriptions are written, and obviously, the more money they make from that one drug.
Would it be great if one drug could help people who often times have multiple issues and symptoms? Absolutely. Is it easier to take just one medicine and have it take care of all of your problems as opposed two or maybe three different medications? Of course. But, psychiatric medications are FDA approved for certain purposes and while doctors are continuously prescribing these drugs for other off label reasons, that may end up causing more harm than good. I do believe that in many cases, there are other reasons to use a certain medication. For example, I take inderal, which is a blood pressure medication, for anxiety as needed.
The reason I am even bothering to write about this is because even though these medications are designed and meant to help people, some do more harm. Since everyone is different and no one really knows how a person will react to a certain medication, especially a psychiatric medication that alters your brain chemistry, patients need to be educated. Patients need to be in tuned to themselves, their emotions, and their body. If something feels “off” while on a medication, do not assume it is in your head or that it is no big deal because it very well might be the start of something serious, or even just a sign that that particular medication might not be right for you. And then you move on to a different one and see how that works for you.
Psychiatric medications can cause people to do things, such as harm themselves or someone else, that they would not normally do otherwise. They have been linked to suicidal thoughts and actions. I know I am not saying anything that is a shocking revelation. But, what I am doing, or what I hope to do, is to engrain in everyone who reads this head that they need to understand the downsides, as well as the benefits. I mentioned in another post how I suffered for months on a psychiatric medication that was given to me as a sleep medicine, as an off label use. I looked at it the same as any other sleep aid I have taken. But, it was not the same. Not even close. And if I had not been someone who was in tuned to my body, my feelings, my thought and my actions, I can honestly say… I would have killed myself. There was something in me that I felt was trying to let me know that there was something wrong, that the way I was feeling and the things I was doing were not me. That was the only reason why I am still alive today- Because I know myself and my body better than anyone, including doctors. Trust your doctor, but trust yourself first. That is very important so I will say it again TRUST YOURSELF FIRST!
It is suicide prevention and awareness week and although many people don’t like to admit it, psychiatric drugs do play a role in suicide. Some help prevent a person from doing the unspeakable, while others may cause it. Just…be aware, ask questions, be knowledgeable, try to notice changes in mood as they come, get to know and understand yourself, talk it out with someone if you are unsure. Be in tuned to yourself and talk openly with your prescriber. While drug companies don’t like to acknowledge these types of incidents (even though the FDA does require them to do so), I am acknowledging it. I am speaking about it because it is near and dear to me. Like I said initially, I am not promoting or discouraging anyone from taking any type of medication that they or their doctor feels would be beneficial. All I am saying, the only thing I am saying, is to BE IN TUNED TO HOW YOU ARE FEELING AND BE CAUTIOUS.