Do you take an antidepressant? Does someone you know take an antidepressant? You can turn to almost any stranger on the street and know that they are probably taking an antidepressant medication. Our society has become a “drug nation” known for prescribing medications to remedy almost every situation experienced. Any doctor or psychiatrist you meet today will more than likely prescribe a medication during an office visit. It’s so easy to pull out a pin and prescription note (or fax it) and sign it, opening the door to millions of medications. Medication is not the enemy, however. Finding balance in using it or figuring out if you really need it, is key.
The reality is that prescribing medication has become so easy that it’s the first choice of treatment for many doctors. Even more, families sometimes ask for medication before anything else. This strong dependence on drugs has drugged our society and in most cases, places many lives in danger (see my previous article).
When a client comes to see me, the first thing I am asked is “how will I adjust to taking so many medications?” If I’m working with a child or teenager, parents often ask me “how long does he/she have to take this medication because I’m worried about side effects or behavior change?” My answer to both of these questions is always “it depends on your situation.” For many families, medication is a frightening endeavor because it has such a strong effect on our mood, behaviors, and outlook on life. Some people complain of feeling like a zombie, while others complain of worsening symptoms such as anxiety or suicidal thoughts. It’s no wonder so many parents choose to make medication their last resort. For cases involving severe mental illness, it is important that patients work with their doctors or therapists to find the right combination of treatment(s).
The side effects of medications alone can have a detrimental affect on the body, mood, and behavior. For this reason, many people prefer to stay as far away from medications as they possibly can. The following list of common side effects are not guaranteed to occur among those taking medication. But the list is reflective of symptoms that could occur. Here is a list of the most common and less common side effects (from drugs.com) of our most prescribed medications:
Symptoms of overdose
What do you think of this exhaustive list of symptoms? Can you add to this list? Feel free to share your experience with medications or someone you know.
Please keep in mind that in many other cases, it is important that individuals who suffer from severe mental health conditions remain on their medications or find a medication that works for them. Medication is essential to the health of individuals suffering from chronic disorders. The sad truth is that medications are often overly-prescribed, but the reality is also that many people need medication in order to function. I encourage you to evaluate the usefulness of medication in your life or someone you know before deciding 100% for or against it.
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Last reviewed: 2 Oct 2013