If you're struggling with mental health issues, the right medication can mean the difference between chronic misery and relief. Below are five important facts about meds.
Medication Works Best When Combined With Therapy
Medication is not magic; instead, it gives you an incresed ability to work on what's underlying your concerns. Study after study demonstrates that therapy amplifies the effects of medication. In some cases, it may even mean you eventually don't need medication.
Most Medications Come With Side Effects—But Side Effects Get Better
No psychiatric drug is without side effects. The good news is that these effects tend to appear early, then recede as the drug kicks into action. Some people need to try several drugs until they find one with a side effect profile they can tolerate, so keep up the search.
Taking medication doesn't give you license to neglect your health. Indeed, an unhealthy lifestyle can compound the side effects of medication. Ask your doctor what lifestyle strategies you can adopt to help your medication work.
Medication Takes Time to Work
Medication is not an overnight solution. A handful, such as anti-anxiety drugs, work right away, but most drugs, including virtually all antidepressants, take anywhere from two to six weeks to reach full efficacy. Plan on instituting some other coping skills while you wait on your meds to work their magic.
Medication is Systemic in Nature
Most psychiatric drugs are systemic in nature. You don't take a Prozac and get a quick mood boost 20 minutes later; instead, these drugs build up in your system over time. For this reason, you should never stop or start a psychiatric drug without a doctor's supervision and assistance.