One of the downsides of managing a mood disorder is that you will most likely need to control it with some sort of medication. There are antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety, and other drugs that are used to help alleviate the symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.
The most important thing that I’ve learned through my years of taking psychotropic medications, is not to forget a dose. It’s not as if you’re taking your birth control and you forget it, so you just take an extra dose the next day. Some of these medications can really mess with your brain chemistry if you forget them.
Of course, some medications have more significant withdrawal symptoms than others, so you need to be careful and research what they are so you can be prepared.
One medication that took for a long time in the past is Effexor XR. This medication is incredibly physically addicting. I used to take this medication by itself without any add-on treatments, so the withdrawal symptoms were many times worse. I would experience aches and pains, dizziness, nausea, brain-zaps (which feel like constant waves, whooshing inside your head) and on top of that, suicidal ideation would come into the mix (badly). I would sit in bed and cry all day until I was sufficiently back onto a dose that I needed to be.
Sometimes it’s not possible to get your meds on time every month and these kinds of withdrawal symptoms can occur. Whether you just don’t have the money for the copayments, you don’t have the transportation to get to the pharmacy, or your doctor is late calling in the script… it can be dangerous. However, every effort really should be made to prevent these things from happening.
I’m not saying all psychotropic drugs have these terrible side effects, and of course, they all affect every person differently. But finally, if you’re going to take a medication, commit to it! And don’t dare be ashamed of it! We all need medication for something at some point, whether it’s for physical pain, or to help us get by mentally.
Photo by Amanda M Hatfield