Community Magazine

Are We Being Overmedicated Or Are We Just Confused About the Healing Process?

By Dastein

Today’s post is actually a response to a comment by Marie on my previous post. I want to thank you for inspiring me to write about this topic, which is something I think everyone has dealt with if they are struggling with mental illness: Medication.

The following is Marie’s comment and that is then followed by my response:

i can’t understand why you are so heavily medicated. i don’t believe in polypharmacy as this can be as bad as no medication. i take 200 mg of lamictal, lexapro 20 mg and trazodone 50 mg for sleep. i can focus and think clearly and rationally. i was over-medicated for a time. i took lamictal, abilify, topamax, trazodone and lexapro. i felt stoned and could not count back from 100.
psych doctors now understand that polypharmacy is no better than monotherapy.
maybe this is why you’re having trouble

Actually its the complete opposite, I’m not sluggish at all, in fact I have a perfect memory (maybe too perfect as I can remember almost every event that has happened to me for the last 20 years, in complete detail), I don’t have a hard time speaking or concentrating. In fact, the medications have helped immensely.

You have to remember that everyone reacts differently to medications, the medications I’m on work for me, but they might not work for you. A perfect example is, when I was put on Abilify I had horrible tardive dyskinesia in fact it got so bad that my whole body was trembling, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat and it was slowly making my episodes worse. Needless to say I was taken off Abilify after 3 days. However, I have a friend who’s life has been saved due to Abilify. She never experienced the side effects and was able to benefit from the medication. Another example is that a lot of people when taking Seroquel, experience deep lethargy and a strong drunken feeling (even at a very low dose ~25 mg), however, I never experienced this- I was lucid and never struggled with being overtired or “drunk” feeling. That’s the problem with medication and trying to tell someone else what medications to go on, not everyone reacts the same way and in fact, if you push someone to take a certain medication and it has detrimental effects that could potentially harm that person (a lady I met online has a daughter that was misdiagnosed and as a result of being given the wrong medication she became almost comatose- she can’t speak and can barely function all because she was put on the wrong meds).

The last example is exactly what you are talking about, and I don’t disagree with you. Unfortunately, the Pharmaceutical companies have flooded the market with a ton of different psych meds and they spend millions of dollars to get doctors to prescribe these meds. Even worse, there has been a trend to diagnose and medicate children, which to me is horrible and abusive; no child should be put on Seroquel or other heavy-duty anti-psychotics (have you ever read the book The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson? It gets into the problems of over-medicating, the controversies surrounding diagnosing and medicating children as well as providing a detailed history of the DSM and numerous interviews with psychopaths).

Are we being over-medicated by our doctors?

Are we being over-medicated by our doctors?

In regards to my med cocktail the reason why I am on these drugs is that they were the only ones that worked, we got to a point where there where no more medications that could help my bipolar, so my psydoc (who was my doctor when I was in the psych ward) figured out that Lamictal was the missing piece as it created synergy with the other medications. Also, two of the meds are for severe anxiety (Neurontin and Vistaril) and the reason they are so high in dosage is that Neurontin does not really kill the anxiety, instead it just dulls it a bit (I wish I could take benzodiazepines, however I’m an addict and have abused benzos before, in fact the day I got out of the psych ward I overdosed on Ativan). And the last med is for opiate abuse (subutex, which according to Wikipedia is a, “semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat opioid addiction in higher dosages (>2 mg)).

Well that is about all I have to say at the moment, sorry for the long response I just got into the writing (which is an obsession of mine, I love to write and tend to go overboard :S)

I want to end this post with a question, what are you thoughts on medication? Are we being over-medicated? Is it right to diagnose and medicate children? And will Pharmaceuticals ever change, or will it get worse over the coming years?

I just want to thank you for stopping by and participating in my community. I see you all as part of family, and as such, I truly believe we are creating a strong and productive community. So, if you want to help this community grow spread the word. Or if you are interested in writing a guest post for the blog, please contact me at david.stein [at] cst [dot] edu. Also if you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can make this community stronger, please comment below or email me.

Again thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful and restful Thursday evening :)


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