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  • Joe Barksdale

Mental Illness & Medication


Question:

I had a friend with a mental illness when I was growing up and I noticed that it took him a long time to figure out his meds. Why does it take so long for the medication to get figured out?


Answer:

Medication is a beast! I mean, imagine trying to figure out which highly addictive mind altering drug works best for you. On the low end, it could legitimately take 4 months to see if the drug that you are prescribed is a good fit. About a month after introducing the drug into your system, while also going through every side effect imaginable (for example not being able to ejaculate, or having damn near constant low grade headaches) you then have to see how you feel after the medicine has been thoroughly introduced. Sometimes the side effects don't go away so now you're on month 2 of dealing with side effects. Month 3 is when you come to the conclusion of whether you feel like this is the best medication for you, or if you want to try something else because not being able to ejaculate can get pretty frustrating (I know from personal experience). Then you have to still deal with the side effects and also withdrawal symptoms as you ween yourself off of those meds... just to start it all up again on another medication. I applaud anyone that has been through the process of getting their meds in order because it's not easy. There is no way of determining what works until you try something and go from there. There are a bunch of different medications that I have tried, and while I am currently on 400mg of Wellbutrin, it took me almost a year to figure out that Wellbutrin is the best medication for me. So after a year of going through the side effects, withdrawals, and everything else - that was a fairly short time. I've heard stories of people taking up to 3 years, just to find what works for them. Can you imagine having do deal with that roller coaster experience for 3 years? As you can imagine it can also be a mental struggle because you think to yourself, "I thought that medicine was supposed to help, but it's making my life so much worse." It's unfortunate, but you start to lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel and also start to wonder if going to therapy was the right decision...but that's a topic for another post.

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