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Mental Health Medication

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Recently a fellow blogger-ette wrote about her experience with bipolar disorder and how she "came out of the closet".  And I found her comments interesting because even though it’s 2005 it’s amazing to me the stigma that mental health issues still have for some people.

What I found ironic going through grad school though was that probably well over half of the students in the Clinical Psychology program I was in were on some type of medication for depression, anxiety or other mental health related issues.

In fact, we had one professor say at one point that medication for mental health was soon going to be considered the equivalent of taking vitamins everyday.

I’m not sure about that personally, but I can say that I’m never shocked when I’m told a friend of mine or even an acquaintance is on some form of medication for emotional help.

Which is why I try to urge my clients to get evaluated for medication if they are having issues.  But even in doing that, I’ve found clients are resistant because they are convinced that they are "crazy" if they go on medication!

So to all of you out there who are taking some form of medication for mental health, I’m here to tell you that it is okay and nothing to be ashamed of.  Keep taking the medication as long as it helps you and forget about what the others say who want to mock you or hurt you with their senseless words.

If you’d like to learn more about medication I’d recommend the book below.

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About Stacy L Harp

  • Stacy, I do apologize if it’s not made clear in the posting guidelines, but Amazon links are meant to make a little cash for this site, not anyone else’s.

    Can you fix to the same as the link at the top of your post (user: pageturners0c ) or remove? Thank you ma’am.

    – Temple

  • RJ

    Almost everyone nowadays is either on a pill for a personal problem, or goes to a therapist. It’s no big deal, and people shouldn’t make it out to be one.

  • It is a big deal. It’s sad. (Not to jump on you RJ, but you’re the first to have brought it up)

    I’ve taken maybe two aspirin in my entire life. An some antibitotics when absolutely necessary. Of course, I realize there is a certain large amount of luck involved there.

    Though I do take Joe-Blow multivitamins every day.

    Like a lot else that is detrimental to society – it starts, young. Parents have to resist the siren call of drugs more.

    I don’t mean they are never necessary. I can think of a writer here who knows they are for her twins.

    My mom was healthy with us all the way – pretty low on the junk foods, didn’t give us cold medicines as far as I remember. Carob was our treat.

    I bet at least partly as a result, my tastes rate very high on the sweet scale; that is something that might taste sweet to me, does not to others. That’s the only difference for why some people like Coke (less sweet) and some peole like Pepsi (very sweet)

    (I realize food isn’t always considered a drug – but the manufactured, additive-laden pap definitely is)

    “Just say no” isn’t a great policy for addictive drugs. It should be the motto for unnecessary ones.

  • RJ

    Drugs are our friends…

    Repeat after me:



  • All Xanax all the time. It’s bloody annoying though that you must travel to another country to purchase Rohypnol.

  • There is a huge stigma if anyone who used mental health professionals or psychiatric medications ever sues, tries to collect worker’s comp, disability insurance or to prosecute a crime against them. The lawyers on the other side will contend that the person is crazy and that their claims are all made up just because they saw a therapist or took psychiatric medication. This is standard procedure and it used quite effectively to do women out of their right to sue or prosecute crimes against them, as women are more likely to see therapists. None of this is shared with therapy clients. The way mental health treatment is presented in the forums I’ve named is similar to how it was viewed the 1950’s. Mental health and medical record are NOT confidential. Any written records you generate can be supenoened by a variety of entities in instances like those named above. People are also effectively pressured to give third parties access to their records because it is made to seem that they must do this to get disability insurance, worker’s comp or social security payments.

    I’m not trying to keep people from seeking mental health treatment, I just want to provide more accurate information. There are ways to make the misuse of mental health records less likely, if you know how.

  • Cerulean, you make EXCELLENT observations! Kudos!

  • jarboy

    temple, we’ve had extremely different life experiences. my mom gave me my first tranq when i was 13. it taught me drugs are my friends.

  • Sunny

    I don’t think that it’s the least bit “ironic” that grad students in the Clinical Psychology program are on medication for mental health issues. A lot of people (myself included) are drawn to study fields like psychology because they are trying to figure out and/or fix themselves.

  • JR

    Psych majors are by and large the most screwed up people I’ve ever met.

    Except maybe for the religious proselytizers.

    Hmmm, tough call…

  • Sunny, you are right, it is ironic. And JR, you are also very right. You should’ve met some of my friends.

    Trust me, you’d think I was normal 🙂

  • jarboy

    stacy, no one is ever going to mistake you for normal, trust me

  • Eric Olsen

    “Physician, heal thyself.”

    I lean more toware the pro-drug side of the debate

  • Drugs are good when used right. The problem is that we have moved from all drugs are bad to all drugs are good. Even those who benefit from drugs (and I am the mother of the twins) need to be monitored and have the drugs changed. Sometimes up. Sometimes down.

  • And it’s less luck than genetics. I haven’t looked at the bipolar gene stuff for a long time but if I remember correctly, it involves a few different genes on different chromosones. How many of the genes you have can affect how bad you have it. We suspect my kids have genes from both sides of the family which combined badly so they are worse than previous generations. Also in the category of stuff we don’t really know, drugs which apparently work the same in the lab work differently in people so individualized selection is necessary.

  • What IS normal jarboy? 🙂

  • It’s interesting to see that people still think there is a miracle drug for everything – that there’s a pill that can cure the smallest of diseases to the biggest of cancers to the compounding complexities of mental disorders. Hasn’t anyone figured out that someone has already discovered it? It’s Extra Strength Tylenol.

  • dee

    Comment 74 posted by dee on June 7, 2005 12:53 AM:
    My daughter suffers from schiphrenia and she is bipolar. I thank God every day for the meds she is taken. Life has been hard for her and for us, especially when she has one of her episodes. She is on 400 miligrams of seraqual, plus two other meds that I cannot think of for her mental problems. She needs the meds.

    But my cousin was put on Prozac right after her husband died. I guess they did not want her to grieve so they gave her a ‘happy pill’ instead of letting her grieve. She called me one day and was talking very suicidal. I called her daughther and she said thanked me cause the doctor told them to watch for signs of suicide but her mom was not talking to them that way. They took her off the pills and she is okay now but she really wanted to kill herself when she was talking to me. She calls me her guardian angel.

    But what is wrong with grieving? It is a process we all have to go thru. No pill is going to solve that problem. They are overused and many people are on them and do not need them.

  • I have been discriminated against for the manic depression. Years back – before the ADA, I applied to go to the Peace Corps. I got rejected – and was rejected because I had been hospitalized for psychatric reasons. I was specifically told this was the reason.

    I’ve also worked in the field of mental health, and at the time it wasn’t a good idea to disclose that one had their own issues with mental illness.

  • Darrin coe

    if one examines the vast plethora of studies concerning the efficacy of psychiatric medications — generally when considering depression or anxiety (the psychotic disorders follow different rules) — one finds that very rarely do they find efficacy in even 30 percent of clients. Psychiatric meds are in the majority of cases no more effective than sugar pills.

    many studies have found that exercise, for example is just as effective and sometime more effective than SSRIs. they’ve also found that behavioral interventions sans medications are just as or more effective than medications.

    So what’s the point? Medications can be an effective package in the treatment of psychological struggles but they are not the whole package and the stabalizing of extreme psychological struggles takes great effort, hard work, and time — sometimes it’s time we don’t have.

    One final note. In the DSM IV, all psychiatric disorders are only “disorders” if they cause SIGNIFICANT disruption of daily living activities — meaning we WAY over-diagnose psychiatric disorders in our country.

    Stay Strong
    Darrin F. Coe, MA

  • jarboy

    you tell me, stacy. you’re the one who said, Trust me, you’d think I was normal

  • It’s so enlightening to read opinions on “over medication” from people who have never had their car reposessed because they spent their payment on a chihuahua, never had to go to work and explain that you were gone for two weeks because you had a nervous breakdown, never had to have their kids miss school because they were too delusional to walk them to the school bus. You’re right, I’ll stop taking my antipsychotic and just go with the bipolar flow!

  • Before my then 9-year-old was medicated, she would glaze over, not recognize me as her mother and then take off to find her real mother. Often.

    On one occasion, this happened at Disneyworld when she was 7. In the middle of a ride. Not exactly a child manipulating to get something. After the ride, I picked her up over my shoulder and hauled her out of there. You may be interested to know that Disneyworld security and many happy families do nothing to you even when you are hauling a child screaming “please don’t take me away. My family is leaving today and they’ll never find me.”

    On the other hand, in downtown LA, I did once have a woman stop her car to come confront me. We escaped trouble that time because her sister was yelling back “oh please, this is Mom and you know it. Do we have to go through this again?”

    Since medication, that has NEVER happened. Not even a sentence that suggested that. The change is dramatic. There’s overall life quality improvements like getting good grades, having friends, SMILING but the complete disappearance of those frequent episodes suggests to me we are dealing with more than a placebo effect.

    I think people fail to understand the severity of what can go wrong in a condition like bipolar and why meds are our friend.

  • Andi

    Thankfully mental illness is now receiving recognition as a “real” illness and being treated as such including appropriate medication. My husband has had a neurochemical imbalance his whole life resulting in sever depression episodes. When he is ill he has a very difficult time dealing with life,can become suicidal, and can go off on rabbit trails thinking things are issues when they really aren’t. Medication really helps him.It was 40+ years before someone told him”hey theres nothing wrong with YOU you’re just sick and need medication”.Now he can focus much better, and cope more reliably with everything.Before he had been taken advantage of by ignorant and manipulative people who used his problems to their own advantage in relationships and etc. recognizing what goes on as just an illness …symptoms instead of an integral part of his personality is very important.your brain you use… it is not YOU not the you down inside of you….you see…

  • The Searcher

    As Darrin Coe pointed out, the placebo effect figures prominently in efficacy of anti-depressants, but I don’t think that applies equally to anti-psychotics.