Medicine as Management Not As A Cure

Medicines used for psychiatric care are not like antibiotics. They are not used for a few days and the patient gets all better. At this point in time these medicines are not cures they are for managing symptoms as far as I am aware. That’s the way the doctor uses them for me. In fact when the diagnosis was bipolar disorder he wanted to prescribe medicine right away for me. This may have been due to the fact that my medication would take 4-6 weeks to come into full effect. There are several symptoms my bipolar disorder manifests and it turns out I need a few medications layered over one another to treat those various problems. Unfortunately one medication doesn’t cover all my symptoms.

Since my medicine regimen was kind of intimidating at first I was glad I could ask the doctor what each medicine is and what symptoms it treats. My medicines are strong and it is to my benefit to take them as the doctor prescribes them. Sometimes the medicines don’t feel right. Sometimes they make me feel worse. That is when I have to be honest and sometimes even firm with my doctor. It is obviously not the right medicine for me. I spent six years on a medicine roller coaster trying to find the right medicines for me. Even having found a good mix occasional change especially in dosage need to be made as my bipolar symptoms ebb and flow throughout the year.

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Another great addition to one’s support network is the pharmacist. The pharmacist is incredibly knowledgeable about the medicines my doctor prescribes. The pharmacist has been able to pinpoint side effects I should talk to my doctor about. Other medicines over the counter and prescription can either cause problematic side effects or just plain block one another from being as effective. This hasn’t happened often either one but the pharmacist is always there to answer my questions about medicine, herb, and food interactions.

There are different ways to understand maintaining my brain chemicals but I like using a car metaphor. Maintaining fresh oil and keeping the fuel tank full allows me to go places. While there are several parts involved to maintain my mental health my medicine definitely ranks with gas and oil for a car. My medicine allows me to get out and go places literally and figuratively. It helps my brain run and so my body can move. I have the kind of mental illness that makes me depressed and stationery. I don’t move physically and my mind goes negative so I don’t think of much. My medicine allows me to get out of bed and do the things I need to and even some I want to do. Medicine hasn’t changed my car. And without it, I don’t run well. But keeping the gas and oil up sure makes for a far better ride!

There are two schools of thought on medicine. One group is for using medication and the other is against using medicine to manage symptoms. They each have different reasons and philosophies regarding the matter. Online I was able to learn about each idea some and why they felt that way. Medicine can get expensive even on medical insurance. So when it comes to psychiatric medication one should make the decision they are worth it and commit to working with their doctor and pharmacist. Once I decided it was right for me I chose to be religious about taking my medication. I wanted the full effect and all the benefits I could get from my medication all the time. Any time a medicine is changed in my regimen it is uncomfortable for a few weeks but ultimately the results can be worth it. Staying on task with my medication has been beneficial and I would encourage anyone taking medication to be diligent with it and open with your doctor about how you feel and what you’re thinking. That’s the only way he or she will know how to help. Hopefully, in time and with more research an actual cure will be found.


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