Being On Anti-Depressants Is Not The 'Weak' Option And Here's Why
Who ya gonna call? Myth busters!
For some reason there's still a stigma attached to mental health medication, but it's time to debunk it once and for all. Strap in!
With 67.4 million items of anti-depressants being prescribed over the last year (the highest ever percentage of the population using such prescribed medication), the myths surrounding usage are spreading like excessive butter on a crumpet.
They'll turn you into a horse! Your feet will fall off! All of your eyelashes will spontaneously combust!
Okay, maybe not that extreme, but let's break it down.
We're here to pop the stigma-bubble with the facts. We even spoke to a professional. So here goes...
1) "You've FAILED!"
100% wrong. By doing something a doctor has told you to do for your own health, the only thing you've done is follow instructions correctly. Congrats!
Philippa Bradnock, Information Manager at Mind told us: “Taking medication by no means makes you a failure. People take medicine for their mental health for lots of different reasons, and for many people antidepressants are an effective way of managing their mental health. Being brave enough to seek support and treatment of any kind should be celebrated. It’s always OK to ask with a mental health problem – getting the right help at the right time is the key, be that medicine, talking therapies or some other kind of treatment.”
So there you go. Keep doing your thing, hun! You're smashing it.
2) "Everyone reacts the same to that medication!"
Listen. Just because Suzanne from down the road read something in Cosmo in 1968 about dosage and zombies, doesn't mean she's right OR that that'll be your experience...
On this myth, Phillipa says: “Different people have different experiences when taking medicine for their mental health and it can take a bit of time to find out whether something is effective for you. It’s important to keep track of how you’re feeling if you’re taking medicine for your mental health, especially if you’ve started taking a new medicine. Some medications can cause drowsiness as a side-effect in some people – although many people find that this passes with time or is outweighed by the benefit the medication gives.
“If you feel worried about anything you’re experiencing while on medication you should go back to your doctor or psychiatrist and tell them what’s happening. They can advise on dosage changes that may help with any unwelcome side-effects. For more information on things to consider before starting medication have a look at Mind’s information on psychiatric medication.”
There you go, some sound advice. Take that, Suzanne!
3) "You're not ACTUALLY happy though... FAKE!"
We think this one is so silly, but easy to fall for without the right advice.
Think of it this way - is someone with a peanut allergy who's taken an epi-pen only fake-healthy? Nope. The answer is no.
Phillipa explained: “Those of us who take antidepressants can find that they help us cope at a time when things are very difficult. For some people taking antidepressants can reduce very extreme feelings so that they become more manageable, which can give us the head-space to better make use of other support out there, such as talking therapies. Medication works for some people, and not for others – everyone is different.”
Medicine is medicine and everybody is full of chemicals. Some people's chemicals get out of whack and need to be put in line.
Whether that's insulin, epinephrine, or serotonin. Everyone is valid and everyone should listen to their doctor.
Not Suzanne from down the road.
For more information and support with your mental health, visit mind.org.uk.