Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Drugs and Mental Health

Drugs are synonymous with mental health/Illness whether it be the prescription variety or the street variety.
Psychiatry has come along way in the last 50 years. For most if not all psychiatric conditions there is a drug available on the market to treat it to a greater or lesser extent 
Antidepressants were introduced in the 1950’s  and anti-psychotics for the psychotic disorders such schizophrenia and Bipolar. These all revolutionized psychiatry and the treatment of mental illness to the point where the sale of psychiatric drugs is a massive worldwide business. But are we over medicated in relation to mental illness ? Are there other / better alternatives in some cases. There is no doubt that medication is a critical part of treatment for vast number of people but perhaps they don’t seek or are offered other therapies such as talk therapy.
What bugs me about antidepressants is that they can take so long to work. Sometimes it can be weeks or months and sometimes not at all. When you do start to feel better your left wondering was it the antidepressant or just the natural course of the illness or other factors such as on going psychotherapy. Personally I like to know what’s working and what’s not so that you can use the effective treatments if needed in the future. In practice maybe we never know for sure if the medication is working but I would still say to those who don’t like taking medication to take it because my feeling is if there is any chance of it working it’s worth taking. When I am depressed any prejudice towards taking medication goes out the window amidst the desperation of seeking an improvement.
In relation to street drugs and I include alcohol in this they are best avoided if possible especially during periods of depression or mania or any psychiatric episode. Alcohol is a known depressant and if you are drinking regularly and depressed it can be difficult to diagnose for a doctor. The thing to do is to stop drinking for a few weeks and see if the mood improves. If it does you can suspect that the alcohol is causing the depression, if not there maybe there is an underlying mood disorder. Other drugs such as cannabis  have known links to psychosis in younger people and cocaine and heroin have devastating addictive qualities.
Basically it comes down to this, with mental illness there is often a chemical imbalance in the Brain. Prescription medication is there to try and redress this imbalance in so far as possible and treat the symptoms of the illnesses . Street drugs upset this imbalance further and nearly always make things worse. Taking prescription drugs which has not being prescribed such as buying medication on the internet is not recommended  because  sufferers are not qualified to self medicate.


  1. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share

  2. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share