The diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders has come a long way from what it was even a few decades ago. Patients who were previously resigned to a life of symptom management and crisis response are now able to establish and maintain a regimen of counseling and medication which allow for stability and a far greater quality of life. While this is an excellent development in the treatment of mental illness, there is still a great deal of nuance when it comes to determining an appropriate medication plan for those suffering from mental illnesses. Let’s look at what you can expect from the process as well as some pitfalls to avoid.
First, you should temper any expectations you have about a quick and easy recovery from your mental illness thanks to medications. It often takes months of dedication on your part before any benefits from medications are seen, as you and your prescribing therapist will work together in a trial and error process to figure out the best medications for your specific disease and body chemistry. It is imperative you remain patient and committed to the plan set up by your therapist throughout this time period, as any deviations from the medication regimen and therapy appointments on your part would certainly set you back a few paces in the recovery process. Accept that recovery from mental illness is a process and respect that process, it is worth it in the long run when you and your doctor are able to successfully establish a protocol that works well for you.
Another common mistake made by those utilizing medications to help with their mental illness can easily lead you to fall back into the depths of mental instability. This is when a patient feels they have “recovered” from their mental illness and therefore no longer need to keep up with their medication regimen. Often this mindset is motivated in part by dissatisfaction brought on by the side effects of many psychotropic drugs used to combat mental illness. Rather than take it upon yourself to tamper with your dosage and other specifics of your medication plan, have an open conversation with your doctor about your goals in terms of side effect mitigation. Every day there are new alternatives to traditional prescriptions which offer less severe side effects - the important thing is you work with a medical professional to find an alternative rather than risk a relapse into mental instability.
Medication management is an important part of successfully living with a mental illness. For many, this process can be frustrating and discouraging, but it need not be if you are armed with the facts regarding how a medication regimen is established for those suffering with a mental disorder. Above all else, the most important part of treating a mental illness is transparency with your care provider. So long as you remain open and honest with them regarding any side effects you are experiencing, as well as any unexpected mood swings or imbalances, you and your doctor will succeed in finding a medication that works best for you so you can live a happy and healthy life free from the instability of your mental illness!