Mental health conditions can be challenging for many individuals, and it’s important to dispel myths that stigmatize those who suffer. Psychiatric medication is an integral part of treatment, and overcoming misconceptions about it can help people feel confident in seeking the care they need.
Psychiatric Medication Is A Quick Fix.
Psychiatric medications, also known as psychotropic medication, play a vital role in the treatment of mental illness. They alter, block, or enhance brain chemicals that send messages, helping restore balance and relieve symptoms.
However, family psychiatric care or medication is not a quick fix, and it’s essential to stick with your psychiatrist’s prescribed regimen even once you start feeling better. Abruptly stopping medications can lead to dangerous side effects and cause symptoms to reappear.
It’s also a myth that people with psychiatric conditions are unable to lead normal lives. People who are treated for mental health disorders can work, maintain relationships, and pursue ambitious goals in their careers. While mental illnesses may be exacerbated by certain factors, such as stress, poverty, or race, they are genuine medical issues. They have been extensively researched, and just like heart disease or diabetes, they are treatable. Mental health is equally as serious as physical health, and it’s time to stop the stigma.
Psychiatric Medication Will Change Your Personality.
A common misconception is that psychiatric medication will change your personality. It is essential to understand that psychiatric medications mainly target neurochemical imbalances and should not impact your personality in any way. For example, antidepressants like Zoloft (generic name sertraline) can increase the availability of serotonin in the brain, which helps improve mood.
Psychiatrists can assess and diagnose mental health disorders through talk therapy, medical laboratory tests, and physical exams. They can also prescribe medication, psychosocial interventions, and brain stimulation treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy.
Just like you can take ibuprofen for a headache or insulin to manage diabetes, psychiatric medication is safe and effective when prescribed by a licensed psychiatrist. Medications can boost your healthy, unaltered brain and can help you live more productively with mental illness symptoms. They can be the missing piece of treatment for some people. They can also make other treatment options more effective, such as talk therapy and lifestyle changes.
Psychiatric Medication Is A Life Sentence.
Psychiatric medications affect chemicals in the brain and are very helpful when combined with psychotherapy. They are a tool that helps with the recovery process and can be stopped when it is no longer necessary. It is best to continue taking psychiatric medication until your doctor tells you to stop, as abruptly stopping can be more harmful than continuing it.
Only a licensed medical professional in the United States can prescribe psychiatric medication, including psychiatrists, physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Many therapists work closely with psychiatrists to ensure that their patients receive comprehensive mental health care.
Psychiatric Medication Is A Sign Of Weakness.
This myth discourages people from seeking help, as it implies that psychiatric medication is a crutch for weak individuals. It is important to remember that psychiatric medications are not placebos, and they have a great deal of value for those with mental illness. Medication can reduce symptoms so that therapy can be more effective. This is no different than taking medication to treat high blood pressure.
Psychiatric medications can also change neurochemical imbalances in the brain. While this can cause some changes in behavior, it should not change a person’s personality or make them into someone else. This is no different than taking ibuprofen for a headache or insulin to manage diabetes.
Finally, it is important to note that psychiatry strives for a difficult balance between respecting a person’s autonomy and not turning our backs on those who need help. While there are instances when involuntary hospitalization or treatment is necessary, this does not occur routinely.