6 thoughts on “A Hierarchy of Medications?

  • August 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I understand the stigma attached to taking psych meds and have been ostrasized because of it. Also, if family members or outsiders see my meds, they immediately doubt my doctors or the “real” need to take them..
    The worst are the doctors and medical staff that you have to deal with and THEIR view of the heirarchy of meds you take. Immediately upon seeing your med list, they doubt anything that you say and any medical concerns that you may have regarding other health problems. The stigma by other doctors outside of psychiatrists are the worst. They don’t seem to understand the mixes or “off label” uses of the meds I take, and then make assumptions about my mental/emotional status or worse my mental astuity and/or ability to make informed choices.

  • August 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I absolutely think there is a hierarchy of medications that we subscribe to, consciously or not. My psychiatrist wanted me to try venlafaxine and I was reluctant because it seemed a “heavy duty” anti-depressant compared to others, and I was scared about the difficulty of coming off it as I’d heard numerous horror stories. But in a way it was comforting because she obviously thought I needed something else so I felt I was being taken seriously (this was when I lived in a country with socialized medicine, so no advantage to the doctor prescribing one med over another.) I have really struggled with increasing doses when advised to – I know logically that makes no sense as I decided to take meds a long time ago so why does the dose matter? – but it feels like an admission of defeat or failure. I don’t think I would agree to take anti-psychotics, though, but luckily I’ve never had to make that decision.

    • August 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Arco, thanks for sharing your experience. What you say about our ideas about meds being shaped in part by fears about side effects or withdrawal effects is very true. But it’s also interesting that you felt that by taking a more “heavy-duty” antidepressant you were being taken more seriously by your prescribing doctor (especially since having socialized medicine took away the possibility that she had been unduly influenced by drug manufacturers). I can see where that sense validation might come from. Some people have told me that even just being prescribed a psychiatric medication in the first place comes as a relief, because it signaled to them that the doctor recognized the extent of their suffering or dysfunction. Certainly, I felt that way myself when I first began taking antidepressants as a teenager.

      • August 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

        Yes, it was a relief to be prescribed meds in the first place as I was finding things really tough, but it was hard to accept at the same time. Especially because of some of the reactions I encountered (my mother burst into tears when I said I’d been prescribed anti-depressants which wasn’t terribly helpful!). I was in my mid-thirties at that point, but I think I did need some validation from those who were treating me, partly because I didn’t get very much from family and friends. I used to wonder if I was just attention-seeking which culminated in a month-long hospitalization – but I worry about that less now, I can see that I was pretty unwell and it wasn’t my fault! I am happy with the meds I take now, and would say that I am no longer depressed, though can I really say that when I am still taking meds? That’s another question, though 🙂

      • August 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        That’s a very interesting point: Can you say that you’re “no longer depressed” when you are taking medications that control the depression? Readers, what do you think? I’d compare it to other chronic conditions, like high blood pressure – can you say you “no longer have high blood pressure” when you take maintenance meds to control it? Perhaps it would be more adequate to say that your antidepressants seem to be keeping your depression in check. Though there is always the question of whether if you were to stop them, the depression would return. Interesting philosophical issue!

  • September 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    It is an interesting point, isn’t it? I think it is difficult for me to accept depression (and maybe other mental illnesses, though I have no experience of those) as a chronic condition, though I am working on that acceptance! Perhaps because I clung to the idea of it being “an episode” whereas in truth it had happened many times before. So perhaps I could say that I still have depression but am not currently symptomatic? I know I found it annoying when my mother took her normal blood pressure while on blood pressure medication to be a sign that there was nothing wrong in the first place – instead of accepting that the medication was controlling it – so I should apply that to myself, I guess!


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