A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that was the complete opposite of this post! If you missed it, click HERE to check it out.
It seems to me, living in the nation that accounts for 5% of the world population and 75% of prescription drugs, that more people are utilizing the excuse that they need a quick fix (as opposed to they don’t need medication), hence the writing of THIS post.
I am NOT against medication, but I am against utilizing medication as the first line of defense. Seeing as my site focuses on holistic wellness, I hope that I am clear that I advocate for multiple methods to provide the best, comprehensive treatment. Medication can surely be effective, however, it is not meant to be utilized flippantly. There are also other methods of treatment that can be pursued before making a change to your brain chemistry through medication.
Medication is best used in conjunction with counseling and/or therapy. If you are on some sort of medication for mental health concerns, I HIGHLY recommend you pursue seeing a counselor or therapist weekly or, at least, every other week.
That being said…
Why is “A pill will fix it!” such a common excuse in our culture today? I think this has a lot to do with our tendencies toward instant gratification (gasp! I did a post on this too!). Our busyness and media-flooded lives do not leave us much time to sit, think, reflect, or spend time on self-reflection. All of these things are what help us to have peace of mind and to feel “okay” with ourselves. When we have time to work on ourselves and to be alone with our thoughts, we are able to work through our difficult circumstances, reason through what happened when things went wrong, understand why we act the way we do, draw connections, and plan ahead for success. But who has time for that?! And if I can pop a pill and feel a bit better, why wouldn’t I?! It’s so much easier!
Why don’t we truly believe that the easy way is not always the best way? I’m sure if I posted that quote on one of my social media forums, I would get a ton of likes and “So true!” comments. But, when it comes down to it… not many people really believe this. If they did, perhaps we would see more people in counseling and therapy and less people waiting in line at the pharmacy. Medications cost money… but counseling… that costs TIME and money… not to mention opening up about things that will make me feel uncomfortable and maybe even challenge me to change!
Now, I don’t want to be insensitive to the realities of feeling uncomfortable and opening up about things that are extremely emotionally taxing… maybe even humiliating or crushing, so I hope you don’t take offense to my above comments. To be honest, the idea of opening up and making major changes to your life can be terrifying. But, when we go there… when we resolve to address these areas… when we can take personal responsibility for our life outcomes… we are finally able to experience some freedom and understanding. This is what counseling can do! Medication will NEVER be able to provide you with insights, the beauty of a therapeutic relationship, or a block of time that is focused on making your life better.
To take it a step further…
Exercise and a proper diet are other proven means of improving your mental wellness! Exercise can be just as effective as medication in mild cases of depression (including postpartum), anxiety, hyper-activity, and anger/aggression.
Why take something if you could resolve it through counseling? Why take something if you could resolve it through exercise? Why take something when you could simply remove some things from your diet and add others? Counseling/Therapy, exercise, and eating well have NO negative side effects… NONE! Medications come with a whole slew of potential side effects that, if necessary, can be worth the help they provide, but they can also be taxing and unpleasant. If simple lifestyle changes could be just as effective, or enhance the help of the medication, why not utilize them?!
Yes, these things require investment of time and other resources, but the positive effects will be well worth it. Plus, pursuing them will allow you to meet others who are also making positive choices for themselves and you will find yourself among a community of health-oriented people! The people you surround yourself with makes a world of difference!
All this being said… if you are on medication and feeling convicted… DO NOT JUST STOP YOUR MEDICATION. I love that you are feeling convicted. The next step would be to talk with your doctor or psychiatrist (ideally, a psychiatrist would be the best bet for mental health medications; no offense general practice doctors!). Let the doctor know that you are going to be pursuing some lifestyle changes and that you may need an adjustment on your medication should these things have a positive effect. Your doctor will know whether or not your meds could be scaled back or if you will simply enjoy an even better quality of life without a change in your dosage.
So what are your reactions to this post? What has your experience with mental health medications OR alternative treatments? I would love to hear… so comment below!