Medication is a route few people
volunteer for as their first choice to treat their bipolar (BPD). It can be expensive, restricting and
seem like a life sentence as opposed to a practical solution to managing
symptoms. However, there is no getting around the fact that, sometimes,
medication is the best and only
course action that will allow you to lead a functional life.
Before deciding on a course of treatment
though, it’s important to give consideration to a few things that will make
some of the possible challenges more manageable as they arise, as there is a
high incidence of issues taking medication amongst individuals diagnosed with
bipolar. If you’re considering what treatments are available to you, here are
some important things to remember before committing yourself:
The Medication is Working It Doesn’t Mean You Can Stop Taking Them.
This is a common occurrence. No one
enjoys taking medication. And if it’s felt that all your symptoms are under
control, there is a school of thought that reasons the treatment has done its
job and the medication can be stopped. Unfortunately, psychiatric medications
do not work in the same way antibiotics do, which are only taken for a
short-term period to achieve lasting results. Some individuals have been known
to come to this conclusion by the empowerment their manic episodes bring,
feeling they’re over the worst, and can move on with their life. However, the
respite is often short-lived with a relapse almost certain. This can be
complicated further if you’ve had significant support from friends and family
to get you the help you need. If you’re seen to be rejecting the treatment only
to lean on those people again, you may find same the level of support as before
if needed. But the goodwill you receive will quickly be used up if this becomes
a consistent pattern. You’re obviously under no obligation to do anything you
feel uncomfortable with. But when you’re relying on the support of others, it
places aexpectation on them for which there is only so much capacity to meet.
2. Experiencing Side Effects Doesn’t Mean
Medication is the Wrong Choice
By now, side effects are an expected
trade-off when using medications. And with that said, it’s important to note
that while they can be highly effective in the management of bipolar, not all
prescriptions will be suitable for each individual. Unfortunately, there is no
sure way of knowing how a person might react to one over another, due to
differing physiologies and other variables. There can be a degree of trial and
error involved in the initial stages, but this can be minimised by seeking help
from a professional psychiatrist, one who deals specifically with bipolar.
Their specialised knowledge and experience will enable them offer a treatment
plan with far greater confidence than most general practitioners. Be aware
though, when your medication isn’t working properly, and the experience has
turned to one of managing side effects instead of symptoms, it can often be a
simple of case of the changing the treatment or even the dosage. The use of
micro-dosing to work your way up to the optimal therapeutic level is an
effective way of doing this. But you should consult with your doctor or
psychiatrist before doing so.
3. Fearing You Are Dependent (or
addicted) to Your Medication
This is quite a big hang-up for many of
those who seek treatment for bipolar. As much as taking medications have the
power to restore a sense of control in someone’s life, it is paradoxical in
that it involves giving some of that control away. Over time, the routine of
acquiring and taking medication can become monotonous and a constant reminder
of your condition, leading to perceived feelings of hopelessness and even
addict-like dependency. This is entirely understandable, and a very legitimate
concern. But it is also a view that can often be taken out of context – prone
to exaggeration. We’re dependent on a great many things for our survival: the
air, food, water, sleep and sunlight. These things are
accepted, unthinkingly. And while medications are man-made, their purpose is to rebalance the chemistry that is
already present to improve quality of life. They rebalance and repair; they do
not replace the functioning of the brain and nervous systems. Taking medication
does not make you weak or any less of a person than your peers. As cliché as it
sounds, it is only the strong who’re willing to accept help at the expense of
ridicule. With some mental illnesses, there are
much better alternatives than medicating, but due to the challenging nature of
bipolar symptoms, it’s often the best course of action that can be taken,
despite whatever complimentary solutions are available.
***If either you or anyone else you know is exhibiting any of these signs, and feel as though you would like further advice on Bipolar, one of our specialists would be happy to provide you with a FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION.
3 Reminders Before Taking Bipolar Medication was last modified: January 7th, 2021 by Dr Becky Spelman
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