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Ethical questions on taking meds....


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So after 5 months or so on Effexor XR, I'm glad to say I'm feeling much less depressed and anxious. I went through a period last winter where I was sure suicide was going to be my only escape. Thankfully Effexor and meds showed me you can return from that darkness and I think it'll play a major role next time I feel depressed in the future.

I guess right now I find myself struggling with the question of "is it ok to take drugs?" I have this fear that one day the drug is going to stop working and I'm going to be in an unimagineable pit of depression and agitation. I also try to reaffirm that this kind of pain probably takes time to build up.

Anyways, I just wanted to ask the crowd here what they tell themselves if they ever find themselves wrestling with the idea of taking drugs long-term?

For me it's been apparent I've always needed chemical help. When I wasn't on prescription medication I did other drugs such as marijuana/alcohol/etc....... So I guess I figured it's at least a bit safer to take perscription drugs, or at least I hope it is.......

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I struggle with the fear of relapsing as well - depression is really scary and it makes sense to be terrified of going back. I do find now that I have more coping skills, and the very fact that I have been on working medication before makes it a little easier because I know that it's possible. I also try to take it a bit at a time - I tell myself that if I go back, I'll handle it, but I'm not going to worry about that until I get there.

About taking drugs long term - I don't really love the idea of it, but I love the idea of being totally crazycakes a lot less. In an ideal world, those wouldn't be my only choices, but they are, so I just have to dump the drugs down the hatch and remind myself that it's better drugged than dead.

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I remind myself that I have a medical condition. No one would expect me to stop taking a high blood pressure drug. Well, I need the bipolar meds just as much. I consider myself lucky that we live in an era when we have such great drugs.

In terms of Effexor pooping out some day ........well Derek, as you know there are a LOT of options. No one should suffer through suicidal depression when there is treatment. I try to find an attitude of gratitutde that I have good treatment and that I have responded, finally, to medication positively. And yes it is much safer to take prescription drugs under the care of a doctor than to abuse illegal substances.

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If it makes you feel better, it's worth it.. however long that may be. Think of it this way, if you loved to fish and it made you feel good, wouldn't it be worth it to buy a pole? It would bring you happiness - just in a different way. Being on meds isn't that different.

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We would not be having this discussion if you were a diabetic and taking insulin. How is MI any different ? It is still a medical condition, treatable with meds. I also do not see how ethics has anything to do with this.

nf

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I don't see any ethical question here, however...

It's not unusual for people with chronic illnesses, and not just MI, to have feelings of denial about their illness, a feeling of loss of control from having to take regular medication or treatments. They are reminders of the illness with all its attendant concerns. To drop it all and ignore it is one way of easing the stress.

I've run out of meds, or stopped them more than a few times. After all, I was feeling better, the side effects are unwanted and bothersome, and beside, I used to be young and invincible. I didn't need all these pills and stuff....

But it never works out. After a few days things start to slide. It always goes bad and it always comes with consequences...

**The most important thing you have learned is that the meds DO work. That if you sink back into depression, that things will not be hopeless because you know how to get help.

Keep up with the meds so you don't end up in the black hole again!

Best, a.m.

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For me its' pretty simple-I'm tons better for other people to be around when on a working regimen of happy pills. When depression's wiping the floor with me? I'm fit company for nobody...Nobody wants me to get the superbitch cape out of the closet...not even me.

Since my family and my wife love me? I owe it to them to not be horrid. Besides that, I can't help anybody else when severely depressed. I'm in my own little world of toxic misery...and I feel an ethical obligation to help people around me if I can do so without too much strain.

So that's my take on the ethics of the situation. If you fall over without a crutch, you use it.

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Before I got diagnosed, the most medication I ever took was a birth control pill + an antibiotic. Not too hard core. Almost 6 years after my diagnosis, I take 8 meds (bipolar and not) every day. Do I like it? No. Do I like the monetary damage it does to my family budget? No.

I stay on the meds solely because of my family. A couple of months ago, I got all self-hating and SI. Next thing I knew, my pdoc's office called the police on me and I get handcuffed in the parking lot of school, 5 minutes after school got out, right in front of my daughter. That was a horrific event for her. The whole school knows I'm crazy now. And my son was left at the middle school parking lot for an hour because I couldn't go get him. And my whole family had to be stressed out in the ER waiting room all night.

Take it from me, stay on the meds until they stop working, and then try another med.

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Before I got diagnosed, the most medication I ever took was a birth control pill + an antibiotic. Not too hard core. Almost 6 years after my diagnosis, I take 8 meds (bipolar and not) every day. Do I like it? No. Do I like the monetary damage it does to my family budget? No.

I stay on the meds solely because of my family. A couple of months ago, I got all self-hating and SI. Next thing I knew, my pdoc's office called the police on me and I get handcuffed in the parking lot of school, 5 minutes after school got out, right in front of my daughter. That was a horrific event for her. The whole school knows I'm crazy now. And my son was left at the middle school parking lot for an hour because I couldn't go get him. And my whole family had to be stressed out in the ER waiting room all night.

Take it from me, stay on the meds until they stop working, and then try another med.

This is very scary. The pdoc called the police and you were handcuffed in the school parking lot in front of your daughter? Wow! I'll have to be careful of anything I say from now on to my pdoc. Out goes the trust between a doctor and his patient. It looks like they could have handled this better.

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I am with the others, there is no true ethical question here, if you had another physical ailment you'd not be asking yourself this question. I take my meds to keep stable, just because you feel good does not indicate you no longer need meds, quite the contrary, it means they ARE working and you should keep taking them to maintain that stability. It's as simple as that. I hope that you can come to terms with needing meds possibly for the rest of your life, because it's all about the quality of life you make for yourself. Taking meds is a small part of the overall big picture. :)

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I want to respond to the other part of the question. What if this drug stopped working. I think most people who are dealing with this learn that whatever drug they start with the dose (and type) will probably change more then once. I like the analogy about Blood Pressure meds and MI meds. Some Blood Pressure meds do need to be changed or other types added if your BP goes higher. I don't think you should have stigma associated with this. I think if we had a light over the heads of everyone who has needed help in this area it would be a well lit world.

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Wow! I'll have to be careful of anything I say from now on to my pdoc. Out goes the trust between a doctor and his patient. It looks like they could have handled this better.

The trust that you have in YOUR pdoc shouldn't be influenced by what someone else's pdoc does. For example, I know my pdoc and my therp would never, ever do what poor gizmo's did to her.

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This is very scary. The pdoc called the police and you were handcuffed in the school parking lot in front of your daughter? Wow! I'll have to be careful of anything I say from now on to my pdoc. Out goes the trust between a doctor and his patient. It looks like they could have handled this better.

And if you choose to lie or withhold from your doctors you are only cheating yourself. Truly.

Your doctors are sworn to act in your best interest as they see it, whether you agree or disagree.

Be honest, open; 'fess up even when you do wrong, to build a strong relationship and there will be less chance of misunderstanding.

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This is very scary. The pdoc called the police and you were handcuffed in the school parking lot in front of your daughter? Wow! I'll have to be careful of anything I say from now on to my pdoc. Out goes the trust between a doctor and his patient. It looks like they could have handled this better.

The reason the staff called the police was because I sounded despondent and told them I SI. According to the pdoc, they are to take every patient harm case seriously. Ironically, I was just trying to leave a message with my pdoc when I blurted out what I did. Am I happy that things happened the way they did? No, but I understand why they did it.

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I'd rather be on meds and feeling OK than not being on them and feeling miserable. Sometimes medication is only needed to boost (or begin) the effectiveness of counseling, and sometimes it's a long-term treatment. I'd prefer to be on them temporarily than permanently, but if that doesn't work out, then I'll take 'em. Medication to treat a problem with brain chemistry makes sense. It's not fundamentally different from taking a medication to treat a problem with, say, blood or liver chemistry.

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I'm diabetic and have to take insulin every day or I would die. I do this subconsciously without any issues.

Now, I see taking psych meds in the same way (ok, so I wouldn't die if I didn't take them, but I was getting close to the point where I was feeling that my thought control was going to drive me to suicide if allowed to go on for much longer). But a while ago (from having what I thought was a bad reaction to an antidepressant in the past), I vowed I would never take psych meds again. How wrong could I have been?? We take the meds to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain, and hopefully make life more tolerable.

I am hopeful that, once I get over the initial sedation (which I'm sure I will, seeing as I have reduced my need for sleep from 18 hours to 12 over the last week, and I am not yet on the full dose also) from my Seroquel, I will be able to get my life back on track. As for how I would be if I yet again refused any meds, I'd probably still be experiencing thought control every day and frustrated as a result. I know it is still very early days (I've only been on it a week), and any improvement at this stage might just be that I don't care because I am sedated. But then even not caring must be some improvement when I'm no longer bothered by the spy cameras outside my front door so I can actually cope with putting the rubbish out.

Now I do not know yet what the long term plan is for me, but I know I'd rather take the meds than be experiencing thought control at the level I was and have a permanent fear of relapsing into yet another psychotic episode.

I may be stupid here, but I have never been able to understand why the world sees mental problems as something different from physical problems. They are the stupid ones I think.

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