Other Fears of Medication For Brain Illness

Yesterday we talked about fears of addiction to medication therapy.  There are other fears that influence our choice to use or not use medication therapy for brain illness.

In clinic, we hear about people’s preference not to take medication, as if it were like ordering mushrooms or no mushrooms on pizza.

I am not someone who likes to take pills.

veggie pizza

Image by mccun934 via Flickr

Again, I think most of us agree entirely.  Who of us set out in life thinking, “I hope my life depends upon medication therapy?  I just want to have a reason to medicate.”

So tell me about this.  Questions:

  1. Are nonprescription substances safer for us?
    1. If so, why?
    2. If not, why?
  2. What are other risks you fear of taking medication for brain illness as compared the risk of brain illness remaining and likely progressing untreated?

Fears can provoke us to grow stigma and biases.  However they can also be used a tool for getting friendly with ourselves.  We can use our fears.  We can use them to gain clarity to know better why we are making our choices – stigma? Or friendship to Me?

Nothing is all right or all wrong.  But we should know our motives if we can because of it’s potential usefulness.  It is a friendly thing to do.

Self-Care Tip #285 – Know your fears so you know why you are making your choices.

26 thoughts on “Other Fears of Medication For Brain Illness

  1. Lamictal and Wellbutrin are non opiate based as far as I know. This combo has worked fairly well for me. I depend upon them for improved mental health but am not addicted to them. Why would any knowledgeable or more precisely, responsible doctor, prescribe the likes of Valium. Librium or Xanax in our drug abuse prone society when safer alternatives exist? It seems non prescription drugs do not have the ability to modify chemical and electrical function that affect mood and response. On the other hand the holistic approach using Chinese medicine, nutritional, detox, herbal and meditation and exercise seem to have measurable positive effects for addiction and improved mental health. The AMA with its allopathic base is still dismissive of alternative medicine approaches.

    • hey carl friend. this is one of the embarrassing moments in my life. i had to look up allopathic. shame. i remember knowing it at one point… hugs to u n your lamictal/wellbutrin cocktail :). thank u for sharing u w us.

  2. Ok, I do not like taking medications unless I am in a lot of pain. I don’t like the “fuzzy” feeling I get. It makes me feel like I am not in control. I also know people who are addicted to pain meds, so I avoid them. (the meds, some of the people, too! LOL!) Maybe it’s partly stigma, partly personal experience, but I’d rather suffer than be dependant…sorry. On the upside, I did take antidepressants for years and it was helpful, although extremely difficult to come off of them…andin all honesty hope I never need them again.

    • suzicate, i hate feeling out of control too. we J’s, or barn people r especially designed that way. but it is largely a human quality. i’m still curious as to what u mean by “dependant.” any follow-up on that? hugs

      • feeling like I couldn’t get through life without them, using it as a crutch, not dealing with the issues at hand….it gave me the excuse not to work through things because “I felt ok”, false sense of security. I had to work through the pain and then let go of the meds…I tried to do it backwards. Make more sense now?

  3. It would be nice to take some OTC med to treat my numerous mental illnesses, but at the end, any med have side effects regardless where they come from. Now a days, I leave it to the doctor to make the decision for me.

  4. I certainly would avoid medicine if I can. They have side effects sometimes that are as bad as the disease. (Like medicine for a plugged nose can apparently cause cataracts. I’ll stick with the plugged nose.) Of course, sometimes people need medicine, but I believe that eating healthier can be more beneficial. I once met someone who had two types of cancers the doctors said would never go away, but she ate a very strict diet, and both cancers are completely gone. The doctors thought that was impossible. Of course, if I ever got sick, could I stick with a strict diet…? Hmm.

  5. I am sitting here in so much fibromyalgia pain that it hurts to take an even-close-to-deep breath. (The past two months and a severe change in weather have taken their toll.) As I was coming home tonight, after another brutally long day, I was trying to decide what I could take – or should take – to stop the pain. I have Neurontin here. It would work. It HAS worked. But I worked really hard to get off it because, yes, I don’t want to be on this medication for the rest of my life. I decided to stop. I also, several years ago, decided to stop antidepressants. I was afraid I’d be on them forever and I didn’t like how I felt on them…either the Neurontin or the antidepressants. Were they good decisions? I don’t know. I’ve had a doctor in the last year put me on SamE. That’s helped but will I, then, be on that forever? The doctor also put me on Lunesta. I sleep really well…but, do I stop? When?

    Having been on medications for years now, both for depression and for fibromyalgia, I am well aware of the fears. I’m also well aware of the side-effects, the questions, the stigma, the expense…oh, the esxpense!!! I think I’m on the right track with this new doctor, but, even then, I don’t think I’ll ever feel completely well again…with or without medications…and that’s scary, especially when it hurts to breathe. Now, about whether to take something tonight for the pain…and what….

    • sorry to hear about this bout of brute hitting u up nancy. i’m thinking u hv a brilliant doctor though who can do no wrong (lol.) but who likes to feel broken, friend? u must live to show us how, as we all r, aware or not, in our own imperfect fraying state. when u celebrate, we will celebrate w u. when u don’t, we will stand stoically by. keep on.

        • I’ll try to be stoic. If you just stand by, that would be good. I DO have a great doctor and I really DO feel better…unless I allow myself to get over-tired or over-stressed. Doctors (and medications!) may do wonders but, if one can’t take care of one’s self and be smart in doing so, things like fibro-flares happen. It’s the nature of the beast…the disease. So, for the next week or so my life is looking almost calm and I can recoup and regroup and, especially, remember what I allowed myself to get into recently, and I’m sure I’ll be fine. The decision to care for yourself medically is a huge one but, whatever that decision is, if you don’t take care of yourself in other ways, the medical decision is often mute (I’ve found, at least.). Did I just ramble????

  6. I have been taking meds for hypothyroidism for almost 20 years and will for the rest of my life. Is taking meds for mental illness or chronic debilatating pain different? If the only way to maintain health is meds I say go for it.

    • thank u for your story patricia. untreated hypothyroidism is devastating and i’m so glad u r in good care. i hear u also in the connections u r making between illnesses and therapies and appreciate that as well.

  7. I was actually having this convo with a friend of mine just this afternoon. For me, I need to do whatever works so that I can feel better. I’d prefer to exhaust all my other options before going the medication route, but if it’s necessary, then it’s necessary.

  8. I am not afraid of taking pills, any pills as a matter of fact. I am very open to the idea of altering my mind because in general I do not enjoy it’s normal state. However, when I started taking my medications I was afraid. I felt like I was going to lose a part of who I am. There is no pride in mental illness however, how do I know how to separate what the illness from my personality?

    • excellent comment lola. that question is in the corner of each of our thoughts. who am i if my emotions and behaviors, if my personality and if whose name i answer to is changing? dear me. i have described the bit that remains as our “essence”, but this is my answer and not one that is so well articulated either. i think this is one of those things that “we see through a glass dimly but then we will see face to face,” so to speak. this touches on the unknown. on magic. on a Force greater than “Me.” We can find more about “Me,” knowing more about that larger unknown, but we won’t know it until we see face to face. and that is per Dr. Q, not to b found in any medical text-book in press! hugs

  9. When I first went on antidepressants I made my best friend promise she would tell me if I ever became a zombie or zoned out. She claims the meds haven’t changed me which is just as well because I certainly still need them. I’m an advocate of listening to good medical advice and my docs all recommend medication for me.

    • i luv that forethought, offensive, proactive approach. thank u for the excellent idea of sounding off of our support network. i’m really glad u feel connected to yourself too. presence is taken for granted by us all the time. keep on.

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