Psych meds: like Advil, but better

There’s an incredible amount of stigma surrounding psychiatric medication. Sure, people are growing to accept mental illness as, well, an illness, but as ironic as it might be, the idea of taking meds still makes people uneasy. 

You’re not lazy for going on meds. They don’t magically solve all of your problems, but they do make your days easier to handle, the way they were before you became ill. 

It’s alright to need it. Once the ball gets rolling and you’re put into treatment at a private or NHS hospital, you’ll most likely be assigned a psychiatrist– a doctor that handles psychiatric medication.

Make sure you’re communicating with your psychiatrist. Once you start a new medication(s), you will likely see them once every one to two weeks to make sure you’re responding correctly. From there on out, you’ll see them roughly once a month for check-ups. 

Unfortunately, they take 3-6 weeks to kick in and tend to have side effects, though they do eventually wear off completely or lessen to the point they’re no longer disruptive. 

They vary from medication to medication, but here are a few common ones: 

  • Nausea 
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches 
  • Drowsiness

When they do kick in, you’re not going to turn into another person. A mental illness is no more than a chemical imbalance in the brain, often in relation to serotonin, which, among other things, helps regulate moods, sleep, appetite and sex drive. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? 

All psychiatric medications do is even out that imbalance, nothing else to it. 

Remember no one can force you to do or take anything, and if a certain medication isn’t working, or the side effects grow unbearable, there are a countless number of other medications and cocktails that have the potential to change your life. Diagnosing and treating mental illness can be tricky, and sometimes it takes a couple tries to get it right. 

Words by Kieran Mehra

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels