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Can someone explain the anti-medication viewpoint to me? I really don't understand it. Why in this day and age with all the knowledge we have about neurobiology are people still against taking medication? I can undestand wanting to try therapy, exercise, vitamins, nutrition, relaxation techniques etc first, but the research shows that therapy combined with medication produces the most effective results. Why do people suffer for years without trying medication? Do they think taking meds will make them a weaker person? That society will think less of them? If something isn't working you clearly need to try a new approach.

 

My motto has always been that I've been willing to try anything to get better and because of that willingness, I'm pleased to say that I found an effective treatment regime( meds and ECT), but it took a long time. I don't know where I'd be without medication. I've been on it for 20 years( although back then it was just an SSRI).

 

Are people scared of meds? Scared of the side effects? Are they scared the meds will dumb them down? Lessen their creativity? SImple meds like SSRI's hardly do that. If anything they increase your ability to pay attention because they alleviate depression. There are some side effects to medications, but they have other medications to combat those side effects. You don't have to walk around like a zombie, gain a ton of weigh, fidget constantly, or be tired all the time.

 

Part of me thinks people who won't try meds secretly enjoy their misery. Not consciously, but it's like their mental illness has become part of their identity, and they don't want to let go of it. They've gotten stuck in the victim role. Part of depression is loosing hope that things will get better, but if a doctor tells you that millions of people have benefitted from something, why not try it, even if you don't believe it will work. One has to have the willingness to change to get better. And that willingness means being open to new treatment options.

 

To clarify, I'm particularly refering to depression in this post and to antidepressants. Sorry for some of the previous misunderstandings. I would be curious to hear why people with other disorders are anti medication though.

 

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I really don't get the anti-med movement. Would love to hear some of your comments.

Edited by curiouscandela
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I'm not anti meds, but to answer (some of) your third paragraph questions: yes, the side effects of my APs scare me, they do dumb me down and they definitely lessen (more like completely destroy) my creativity. Although I take them anyways. Better that than being bat shit crazy.

 

BTW, what sort of meds combat APs side effects?? I'm VERY curious. One psychiatrist once told me to try Citicoline and some other thing I don't remember the name of, but I can't say I felt any difference.

 

Best way I know to combat side effects is to lessen the doses I take, which only happens once enough time passes from my latest episode (well, I've only been through 2, maybe they'll stop...)

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Playing devil's advocate, some would say the opposite of what you said about the victim role- that agreeing to take meds is "giving in", and gives a person an identity as having a mental illness. 

 

Some would say side effects, too, also unknown dangers of newer medications that are being tossed around.  Speaking of tossing around, all of the advertising and kickbacks to doctors from pharmaceutical companies can become nauseating.

 

That being said, our whole lives are based on chemical dependency, from the food we eat to the air we breathe.  It's really no different than taking medication for a physical complication, because the brain is physical.  Emotions and thoughts, and behaviors are manifestations of that physicality.

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I recently met someone  that I found out was Bipolar. I was elated to talk shop.  Surprised to find out he was unmedicated.  He had no agenda to push on me and said, "It sounds like you have found something that works for you."  He had gone the med route at some point. Now he works with a tdoc, practices yoga everyday, chose a very low stress job that he can choose the hours, eats only organically, meditates daily. Is a parent as well. A thoroughly holistic approach.  It was all intriguing to me and I went away wanting to implement at least one of those items in my life.  I felt calm and serene in his presence. Now mind you, he at certain points in his life had attempted suicide etc.

 

Anyway, it was all very interesting.

 

It's not all cut and dry.  My brother, like myself, is also Bipolar.  He is unmedicated.  He is just lazy.  Plain and simple.  he forgets to take drugs, or get them filled, or ends up questioning the diagnosis.  He also served in IRAQ - so has PTSD and takes no benzos.  This was pre diagnosis, even though I knew he had it for years prior to that.

 

But when people don't take meds I don't always look at them as playing the victim role as you pointed out.  It is so hard to find the right combo. I am still not there. In the past 2.5 years, still haven't found it.  You can count up the mood stabilizers in my cocktail.  I hit some lows, and was at the point I was going to quit it all.  But I knew that the withdrawls would suck, so I am hanging on until my next appt.  Yes, side effects are a big reason why people quit.  Your Topamax in your signature that seems to be working for you?  I hate the drug and it has been making my life miserable for the last month.

  I have never missed a lab appt. or a Dr.'s appt. because I don't like feeling awful either, BUT I understand why people go off their meds.  It is frustrating

So again, it's not just one thing, but many things.

Edited by Frenetic47
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I'm not anti meds, but to answer (some of) your third paragraph questions: yes, the side effects of my APs scare me, they do dumb me down and they definitely lessen (more like completely destroy) my creativity. Although I take them anyways. Better that than being bat shit crazy.

 

BTW, what sort of meds combat APs side effects?? I'm VERY curious. One psychiatrist once told me to try Citicoline and some other thing I don't remember the name of, but I can't say I felt any difference.

 

Best way I know to combat side effects is to lessen the doses I take, which only happens once enough time passes from my latest episode (well, I've only been through 2, maybe they'll stop...)

 Some of the meds that I know are used to combat AP's side effects include: Cogentin and Artane for muscle stiffness, tremors, and restlessness. Metaformin and Topamax for weight gain. And Provigil and Concerta for sedation.

 

I definitely feel more sedated on AP's but I also have ADD. When I'm on my Adderall, the day time sedation is taken care of, even though I still sleep longer at night than most people. When I'm off my Adderall I nap constantly during the day.

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It's not only psych patients that don';t want to take prescribed medications.

 

http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/06/patients-prescription-drugs.html

 

I take medicine but there are all kinds of reasons not to want to take them. side effects, worries you will lose creativity, cognitive dulling, fears of serious side effects, not trusting the medical professionals, and just wanting to be in control -willpower.  I argued against taking an anti-psychotic because I didn't think I needed one and could "think my way through" paranoia.  It didn't work too well for me. And, taking medicine can mean you are accepting the dx and no one wants a chronic condition.

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 Some of the meds that I know are used to combat AP's side effects include: Cogentin and Artane for muscle stiffness, tremors, and restlessness. Metaformin and Topamax for weight gain. And Provigil and Concerta for sedation.

My doctor will write a prescription for Cogentin but because I am psychotic will not write me a prescription for Provigil or Concerta or any other stimulant.  Metformin worked well for me, but now I'm looking at having to have insulin injections.  I'm sure AAPs have contributed to that.  Topamax doesn't work for every one for weight loss.  For me it didn't but that's not the reason I was taking it.

 

I'm about 20 pounds overweight even with exercise and that's ok for me.  For what it's worth, I've had 2 cardiac stents just this past July and I was only 38 at the time.  Some bad genes combined with a lot of stuff. 

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for well over a decade (probably closer to two now that i think about actual passage of time...yeah...defo more like two) i did not believe i was sick ever. at all. i would end up back and forth in the hospital and believed they're all just fucking with me. it's called anosognosia and whilst i'm glad you have insight some of us haven't, often still don't, and many never have and never will.

 

it makes just as much sense to me that the meds are poison and useful in helping transmit and track as it does that they're there to help...espeically with several voices and strongly reinforced delusional frameworks.  i've been "anti med" at times also because, quite frankly, i've believed it is my work...my purpose to interpret the symbols and follow signs given by the universe and complete orders and sometimes those orders have involved lengthy polemics about the demon medications "they" are trying to lie to us to take and blah blah blah.  

 

being well educated doesn't save you either. it didn't save me. i have a fucking doctorate. i also hvae paranoid schizophrenia.  it's not that i can't read research. it's that i've spent years sick and untreated...and then years suffering from anosognosia and absolutely disbelieving being in the hospital was anythign mroe than a clever tactic to thwart my work...and the second i got out *flush* and start again. because, seriously...the voices in my head make a lot more sense than the world outside AND...of course if i don't believe doctors i'm probably not going to believe their literature either...or my medical record...if there's no trust...then why *wiouldn't* it all be fucked up and subject to suspicion?

 

and that's what i think you're missing in your assessment. it's all subject to suspicion because i spent so many years being clinically paranoid...i didn't believe ANY of it. it's not just one person maybe fucking with me. it's a world that is out to discredit and fuck with me. and anything in that world outside...is suspect. full stop.

 

i'm better right this minute but it's builshit that taht's because i "enjoy my misery" and dno't now or something...? i don't really know where you were going with that. nevertheless, it wasn't that i overly identified with my mental illness. it's that i thought and often still do think that my "mental illness" is a fucking deception tactic on the part of those who wish to control me and the thing is...if you accepted my presuppositions...like everything in my experience is not operating from "consensus reality" as a given...what better way to fuck with someone than to discredit them by slapping the label of "paranoid schizophrenic" on them? it's a really quick way to remove someone's credibiltiy and i tried multiple times to remove my diagnosis from my chart because that fucking label sets you up to have any number of portions of society basically dismiss you. i don't anyone ever in all my stints in hospital and php and so forth EVER that has requested this particular label so...if we identified with it...i think we'd be a little MORE seeking drugs and shit. but that's not statistically or in my personal experience the case.

Edited by mellifluous
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I recognize that AP's have some awful side effects, but I was thinking more about antidepressants when I wrote the post. I can't believe some people still won't take antidepressants. I struggled for years to find the right medication combo, and as an anorexic I was very picky about my meds. But it's worth it once you finally find the right combination of medication and your symptoms remit. You don't have to be miserable anymore. You don't have to listen to constant auditory hallucinations. You get over a 20 year eating disorder. You trust your friends. You have a career again. You can get your life back. It's easy to forget how good happiness feels and just settle for the status quo when we're ill. But it can be so much better, and medication stops the suffering of millions of people.

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for well over a decade (probably closer to two now that i think about actual passage of time...yeah...defo more like two) i did not believe i was sick ever. at all. i would end up back and forth in the hospital and believed they're all just fucking with me. it's called anosognosia and whilst i'm glad you have insight some of us haven't, often still don't, and many never have and never will.

 

it makes just as much sense to me that the meds are poison and useful in helping transmit and track as it does that they're there to help...espeically with several voices and strongly reinforced delusional frameworks.  i've been "anti med" at times also because, quite frankly, i've believed it is my work...my purpose to interpret the symbols and follow signs given by the universe and complete orders and sometimes those orders have involved lengthy polemics about the demon medications "they" are trying to lie to us to take and blah blah blah.  

 

being well educated doesn't save you either. it didn't save me. i have a fucking doctorate. i also hvae paranoid schizophrenia.  it's not that i can't read research. it's that i've spent years sick and untreated...and then years suffering from anosognosia and absolutely disbelieving being in the hospital was anythign mroe than a clever tactic to thwart my work...and the second i got out *flush* and start again. because, seriously...the voices in my head make a lot more sense than the world outside AND...of course if i don't believe doctors i'm probably not going to believe their literature either...or my medical record...if there's no trust...then why *wiouldn't* it all be fucked up and subject to suspicion?

 

and that's what i think you're missing in your assessment. it's all subject to suspicion because i spent so many years being clinically paranoid...i didn't believe ANY of it. it's not just one person maybe fucking with me. it's a world that is out to discredit and fuck with me. and anything in that world outside...is suspect. full stop.

 

i'm better right this minute but it's builshit that taht's because i "enjoy my misery" and dno't now or something...? i don't really know where you were going with that. nevertheless, it wasn't that i overly identified with my mental illness. it's that i thought and often still do think that my "mental illness" is a fucking deception tactic on the part of those who wish to control me and the thing is...if you accepted my presuppositions...like everything in my experience is not operating from "consensus reality" as a given...what better way to fuck with someone than to discredit them by slapping the label of "paranoid schizophrenic" on them? it's a really quick way to remove someone's credibiltiy and i tried multiple times to remove my diagnosis from my chart because that fucking label sets you up to have any number of portions of society basically dismiss you. i don't anyone ever in all my stints in hospital and php and so forth EVER that has requested this particular label so...if we identified with it...i think we'd be a little MORE seeking drugs and shit. but that's not statistically or in my personal experience the case.

I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I'ved edited my post now so that it clarifies that I'm mostly talking about depression and antidepressants. I have been psychotic and I understand the lack of logic and insight that accomapies it. I can see how you might see medications as part of the grand conspiracy. Obviously, I never had that thought, but I had enough conspiracy theories to empathize. Again, my comment wasn't directed at psychotic individuals. My apologies for offending you.

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i think there's a mistaken idea that legal psychoactive drugs are "bad", kinda the same sentiment as believing all illegal drugs are "bad".  any drug that influences mental processes is scary because of some sort of potential for loss of control, or blunting of emotions, or getting high, or becoming addicted.  if you're "on drugs", you aren't "yourself".  and "self" is to be protected and promoted at all costs in western society (even if that "self" is unwell and/or utterly miserable).

 

then there's the whole "Big Pharma is Ebil" school of thought, which is a conspiracy theorist's dissertation in itself.

 

the reasons people are uncomfortable with psych meds are probably as individual as the people who need them, though.  IMO.

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for well over a decade (probably closer to two now that i think about actual passage of time...yeah...defo more like two) i did not believe i was sick ever. at all. i would end up back and forth in the hospital and believed they're all just fucking with me. it's called anosognosia and whilst i'm glad you have insight some of us haven't, often still don't, and many never have and never will.

 

it makes just as much sense to me that the meds are poison and useful in helping transmit and track as it does that they're there to help...espeically with several voices and strongly reinforced delusional frameworks.  i've been "anti med" at times also because, quite frankly, i've believed it is my work...my purpose to interpret the symbols and follow signs given by the universe and complete orders and sometimes those orders have involved lengthy polemics about the demon medications "they" are trying to lie to us to take and blah blah blah.  

 

being well educated doesn't save you either. it didn't save me. i have a fucking doctorate. i also hvae paranoid schizophrenia.  it's not that i can't read research. it's that i've spent years sick and untreated...and then years suffering from anosognosia and absolutely disbelieving being in the hospital was anythign mroe than a clever tactic to thwart my work...and the second i got out *flush* and start again. because, seriously...the voices in my head make a lot more sense than the world outside AND...of course if i don't believe doctors i'm probably not going to believe their literature either...or my medical record...if there's no trust...then why *wiouldn't* it all be fucked up and subject to suspicion?

 

and that's what i think you're missing in your assessment. it's all subject to suspicion because i spent so many years being clinically paranoid...i didn't believe ANY of it. it's not just one person maybe fucking with me. it's a world that is out to discredit and fuck with me. and anything in that world outside...is suspect. full stop.

 

i'm better right this minute but it's builshit that taht's because i "enjoy my misery" and dno't now or something...? i don't really know where you were going with that. nevertheless, it wasn't that i overly identified with my mental illness. it's that i thought and often still do think that my "mental illness" is a fucking deception tactic on the part of those who wish to control me and the thing is...if you accepted my presuppositions...like everything in my experience is not operating from "consensus reality" as a given...what better way to fuck with someone than to discredit them by slapping the label of "paranoid schizophrenic" on them? it's a really quick way to remove someone's credibiltiy and i tried multiple times to remove my diagnosis from my chart because that fucking label sets you up to have any number of portions of society basically dismiss you. i don't anyone ever in all my stints in hospital and php and so forth EVER that has requested this particular label so...if we identified with it...i think we'd be a little MORE seeking drugs and shit. but that's not statistically or in my personal experience the case.

I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I'ved edited my post now so that it clarifies that I'm mostly talking about depression and antidepressants. I have been psychotic and I understand the lack of logic and insight that accomapies it. I can see how you might see medications as part of the grand conspiracy. Obviously, I never had that thought, but I had enough conspiracy theories to empathize. Again, my comment wasn't directed at psychotic individuals. My apologies for offending you.

 

 

i shouldn't be so quick to temper. i appreciate your clarification and thanks for being more gracious in reply to me than i was to you. take care x

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it's not just one person maybe fucking with me. it's a world that is out to discredit and fuck with me. and anything in that world outside...is suspect. full stop.

 

Luckily my delusions never included thinking something like my meds were poison or used to control me (although at some point I didn't wanna drink water because I was sure it was drugged), but this quote is scarily familiar, could as well have typed it myself. I hope you doing better, mell.

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I recognize that AP's have some awful side effects, but I was thinking more about antidepressants when I wrote the post. I can't believe some people still won't take antidepressants. I struggled for years to find the right medication combo, and as an anorexic I was very picky about my meds. But it's worth it once you finally find the right combination of medication and your symptoms remit. You don't have to be miserable anymore. You don't have to listen to constant auditory hallucinations. You get over a 20 year eating disorder. You trust your friends. You have a career again. You can get your life back. It's easy to forget how good happiness feels and just settle for the status quo when we're ill. But it can be so much better, and medication stops the suffering of millions of people.

 

Some people loose their sex drive and ability to orgasm on antidepressants and/or antipsychotics. That alone is a big price to pay. Everything is relative. How bad is your depression really? How bad are the side effects? You had success personally. I assume that you don't have significant sexual side effects and it sounds like you are lucky enough to have a counter to the sedation. Some aren't so fortunate. Obviously, here I'm speaking more for the people who legitimately tried meds and consider them a fail for reasons many can understand.

 

I think Mell hit on a big part of it - anosognosia. An awful lot of people don't realize they have a significant problem. Everyone gets depressed. Where is the line between normal and MI? Then there is the complimentary helping of denial.

 

I disagree with the idea that people choose depression over health. I think the hell you know is better than the one you fear. Entering the world of mental illness is pretty damn frightening and that is what you do when you reach out for mental health help - admit you are mentally ill.

 

An awful lot of people won't even take aspirin. It shouldn't be surprising that many are opposed to meds that change your natural disposition even if the disposition doesn't feel so great. Everyone has shit to contend with. Yank up on them there bootstraps harder!

 

I love my meds. I am totally sold on the medical model. It just took me years to get here... and never did I choose to feel awful over well. I just wasn't capable of making life be different.

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The true "anti-med" crusaders think that MI is an invention of big pharma and that medication is an attempt to stifle normal variations in human personality and behavior.   They think that the problem is with modern society and if society weren't so fucked medication wouldn't be needed.  It's misguided but well meaning.  As someone who has spent a lot of time with far leftists, I've seen a lot of this.

 

Read Foucault's Madness and Civilization for the basis of the modern anti-psychiatry movement as taught in some sociology departments.  Also take a look at Thomas Szasz and Peter Breggin, just to name a couple off the top of my head.  A lot of the anti-med stuff you'll find on the web was put there by Scientology as well.

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Another thing (added to what has already been said above) about the anti-med view is that I think people are afraid of side effects.

For me it was fear that meds would change me.  I would be zombefied or my personality would be changed.   Its (I think) fear of the unknown.  Talking to my GDoc was what I needed to feel safe to try them.  

 

I wasn't afraid of side affects (Had no clue) but my first run gave me a lot of side effects and I'm glad my doctor switched me to a different set of drugs that didn't have them.    I think we live in a time when the stigma of Mental Health problems is going to get a lot better.  The machines that can show mental illness and show how medication can fix that are making it a lot more difficult to say that mental illness is a character flaw.

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I'd guess the majority of anti-med crusaders are not even MI themselves.   Their opposition is purely political and ideological.  Many are MDs and phds though so they are seen as experts, regardless of the fact that the majority of experts disagree with them.  They manage to get on talk shows and publish books which MI folks who aren't sure about meds then see with really negative results.

 

If you take people who are already inclined to paranoia and who have trouble with delusional thinking and tell them that the pharmaceutical industry is conspiring with the government to control them and make money, many will believe it.

 

I have had many confrontations with these people and am inclined to rant about them.  I'll stop now.

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