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My Challenges With Psychiatric Medicine Compliance

I am doing well on my medications. I have not been hospitalized since 2005. I rarely have any psychotic symptoms. I have not been manic in years. My mood is generally fine. Once in a blue moon, I will have hypomania and on occasion, I have mild depressions. Anxiety is one thing I have not completely tackled, but it is better.

You would think I would not be tempted to stop something that is working so well, but that is the nature of the illness When I am well, I wonder if I really need the medication. They all seem to have side effects of some kind. And they can be costly.

I get input from others that make deciding to continue complicated.

I have a friend who is weaning off his medication with his psychiatrist’s approval. He has different, less severe symptoms than I do, which he feels he can deal with by using coping skills. It tempts me to try weaning down on at least some medication even though it is working well.

Other doctors and therapists comment on the amount of medication I am on. Do I really need all that? It plants seeds of doubt and I start questioning if I really do.

I have tried reducing them before. I relapsed getting very anxious and depressed. I know others who had symptoms return after stopping. I would hate to have that happen

It is an ordeal finding the right medication or combination of medications. It is trial and error to find what works with bearable side effects. I have gained weight, had memory problems, hand tremors, fatigue as side effects. I have been on medications that did little to control my symptoms. Now, that I have found something that works, I want to stay with it.

When you go off medications, they may not work the same when you try them again. If you relapse, you may have to go through the trial and error again. You may also need hospitalization until you are stable.

Medication changes, increasing or decreasing or switching medications, many times make me feel physically ill, like I have the flu. Even though psychiatrists usually have you taper off slowly or titrate up in dosages you can still feel some withdrawal or other symptoms.

I have to tune out the outside influences like: memes that tell me medications are bad and all I need is a walk in the woods, people questioning my medications or hearing of others who are living medication free.

I know how I have been at my worst, swept up in hallucinations and delusions, and how I can accomplish my goals now. That must be enough to keep me treating the illness the best way I can. For me, that includes medication.

My Challenges With Psychiatric Medicine Compliance

Lori Bernstein

Lori has been married over 20 years and is the mother of two teenagers. She has the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, along with recovering from alcoholism. She works as a Peer Mentor and volunteers for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

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APA Reference
Bernstein, L. (2017). My Challenges With Psychiatric Medicine Compliance. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 30 Jul 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jul 2017
Published on All rights reserved.