Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Dr. Justin Puder B.A, M.A, Ph.D
8 Reasons To Break The Stigma Behind Psychiatric Drugs
Published Aug 17th, 2021 & updated on Aug 17th, 2021
Your poor little brain has to do a lot of things in a day. It has to make your body move, think thoughts and even produce hormones that make you feel your emotions. That’s a lot of stuff! But, sometimes, your brain can’t do it all on its own and that’s okay. It just needs a bit of extra help from its friend — medication! Medication isn’t just about healing your body. It can help heal your mind. Psychiatric drugs and psychotropic drugs help balance out the chemicals in your brain, increasing or decreasing certain hormones depending on your situation.
But if these drugs are so helpful, why is there such a stigma towards taking them in order to benefit your mental health? It seems to be a lot of overall residue from stigma surrounding mental health as a whole! Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to fully change that (YET). But what we do have is a list of why psychiatric drugs don’t deserve the stigma that surrounds them.
1. Mental Health Is As Important As Physical Health
If you’re currently taking meds, you’ve probably been told that “you should get off those drugs because they’re [insert uneducated and unprofessional opinion here].” UGH! It’s so annoying when people say stuff like this because of the stigma of mental illness and mental health drugs.
Would you tell a diabetic to stop taking insulin? How about telling your friend that they don’t need a cast for their broken arm? You wouldn’t, right? Medications like anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants (and sooo many more) are just as important as medications and treatments dedicated to your physical health.
2. Medication Saves Lives
Being unmedicated and battling with your mental health can feel like you’re trying to fight a massive boulder that’s just sitting in your way. You try to fight it, but you end up just hurting yourself and getting really, reaalllyyyy tired. C’mon, you’re fighting a boulder for crying out loud!
You end up feeling so tired that you might want to give up, but medication can be the thing that keeps you from giving up! It can help bring back your fight and make that boulder a much easier foe to face. Maybe that boulder becomes an inconveniently placed rock (or even a pebble)! Meds are there to help balance you out and give you the perspective you need to keep going through every day. They help save lives!
3. Sometimes Therapy Isn’t Enough
You can still go to therapy, do everything right, do all your breathing exercises, but still feel like a pile of poop (omg we’ve been there!). Sometimes your therapy needs to call in the reinforcements to help you along. The reinforcements are medication btw.
Taking your prescribed psychiatric drugs can end up assisting your therapy and make it even more effective! Therapy isn’t cheap either, so taking medication makes it soooo much more worth it than it already was (and we’re always looking for a good deal!).
In a recent episode of Anxious Like You, Laina Morris (a.k.a. Overly Attached Girlfriend) spoke with Season 1 hosts, Micheline Maalouf and Nadia Addesi, about her experience taking medication. Laina said “I did all of this work to take the medication. I took it, I liked it. It helped me. It was like the best decision I ever made. I told everyone it was the best decision I ever made. Here I am a year and a half later, and I’m struggling again. Why is that so hard? When I know I’ve taken it and I know it’s good for me. It’s still something I struggle with.”
4. The Science Is Trusted
Doctors and psychiatrists don’t just go around prescribing meds willy nilly! They trust and know the science behind the meds. They’ve studied how psychiatric drugs help patients and understand how the body and brain interact with each other.
Not everyone experiences mental health struggles and not everyone experiences mental illness the same way. This leads some people to be skeptical about medication and its effects, so they don’t fully trust it. And while there may be some side effects of certain meds, you can certainly trust the science behind your psychiatric medications and your doctor’s ability to prescribe them.
5. Psychiatric Drugs Don’t Mask The Problem
Meds help balance you out. There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re battling with your mind! You’re just a human that’s experiencing human things and medication helps your brain stabilize the chemicals that it produces.
Some people might tell you that you should go to therapy instead of taking meds in order to get to the root of your struggles. But like we said, meds can help make therapy more effective! And properly dosed psychiatric medications shouldn’t mask any problems. They will instead help you face your issues with more ease, confidence and stability.
6. They Change You For The Better
Many people feel afraid to take medication because they don’t want to change who they are or they’re afraid that they’ll lose their sense of self. But in reality, medication can help you find yourself! You get to discover who you are without worrying about your mental health. You get to have the opportunity to experience a life filled with so much more joy and colour! Who you are won’t be stifled. You will be fueled!
But that’s not to say you will never ever experience any negative side effects. There’s a chance that you might and what’s important to keep in mind is that side effects are possible with ALL medication. While chatting with our DiveThru Therapist, Dr. Justin Puder, he mentioned that there are many many many options with changing dosage or the type of medication you’re on if you do end up experiencing negative side effects!
7. They Help You Function
Some people need medication to help them function on a day-to-day basis. Not everyone has a brain that lets them perform tasks with ease and speed. Psychiatric meds can help clear the fog and make simply existing soooo much easier.
Medication can help zap the symptoms that keep you from functioning and can actually help restore your sense of self! You get to find out who you are without the weight of the world on your shoulders.
8. Because Meds Are Nothing To Be Ashamed Of
Psychiatric medications have a stigma attached to them that scares a lot of people away from giving them a try. Not many people openly talk about their meds, what they take, why they take them and how much they take. But we need to get rid of that stigma and show the world that taking meds is nothing to be ashamed of! Medication helps save lives, so the stigma around it needs to go, go, GO!
It’s important to remember that if you are taking medication to help your mental health, it’s not a miracle cure. It won’t fix everything right away because it does take a few weeks for it to kick in. And taking medication isn’t always an easy thing to do. It takes A LOT of guts and hard work to admit that you need something to help your mind along. Some people think that they’re weak for needing mental health medication, but the reality is that it’s the opposite! It makes you a fucking fighter! Now, go out there and FIGHT!!! We know you’re going to win!