Are your psych meds making you sick? Doctors treat bipolar disorder primarily by prescribing medications; sometimes many medications for the multitude of symptoms common to the illness. Too many at times and the medications all have side effects, some very serious ones.
I recently connected with mental illness survivor Andy Berhman via a mutual Facebook friend, He is the author of the book “Electroboy” – a memoir of living with the severe mania of bipolar illness.Do You Really Need to Be Taking 5-7 Different Psychotropic Medications. Click To Tweet
Electroboy is the story of his life, as well as his experience of having multiple rounds of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) when he did not respond to psychotropic medications.
Related post: How Was the Chemical Imbalance Theory Developed?
Are Your Psych Meds Making You Sick?
I’m including Andy in this post though do not know him other than as a Facebook friend and have yet to read his book (on my list!) as his YouTube video he posted in 2009 about the dangers of the drug Abilify is making the rounds again.
Update August 20th: I have read the book and enjoyed it much, it is well written and interesting. My one criticism is that it is as much the story of someone with severe alcohol and drug addictions as it is of someone who suffers from Manic Depression… though the issue of addiction was white-washed throughout the book, giving an impression they are one and the same.
My thoughts: BP-1 and addiction are two separate illnesses. My understanding is someone like Andy who clearly displays both is given a dual diagnosis (addiction/bipolar). Not all who suffer from Manic Depression are addicts. Not all addicts are bipolar.
This is important as no one should ‘want’ the illness bipolar and many who are addicted to substances can get well with treatment (abstinence, support, counseling, etc.) and not need psychiatric care. Or to be put on harmful psychotropic meds unecessarily.
After suffering severe side effects of the medication Andy began speaking out against Abilify and against the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Meyers Squibb (BMS); the company who makes it and who he used to be a paid spokesman for. You can view the YouTube video here: Abilify Kills.
Are the Side Effects of Toxic Drugs Worth the Benefit?
Beyond the issue of being prescribed medications you do not need or that an unethical physician is recommending to treat side effects of some other med they’ve put you on is the simple question “are the side effects worse than the benefit”?
Is the medication making you better or worse? Maybe it was useful for a short-term problem but do you really need to stay on it for life? Do you know what the side effects are and the potential medical problems you may develop if you continue to take the drug?
You should. Do your research. Seek out alternative views other than the one you are getting from a Big Pharma puppet doctor who is failing to inform you of the risks or well meaning friends and relatives who really do not understand the potential severe side effects these medications can cause. If they did, they may not be so supportive of you taking them.
The Goal is to Become Well, Not Sicker
I firmly believe much of the disability associated with chronic, severe mental illness is a result of long-term use of psychotropic medications. For some persons it may be unavoidable, or they feel the side effects are worth suffering as they could not find ways to be well without taking them. I completely understand, I’ve lived that nightmare.
Hopefully we will find new and better alternative treatments for severe mental illness than toxic psychotropic medications. We want to get better just like any patient suffering from an illness wants to become well – not get sicker or more ill from brain-disabling treatments.
Be your own best advocate, learn about the risks associated with any psych meds your doctor is prescribing and make an educated, informed choice whether or not the med is something you want to be taking. Or at least whether the benefits it is giving you are worth the inherent risks to your health and well-being.
Then be ready to change your mind. Like Andy did. Maybe the medication was useful for a short or extended time to recover from a serious depressive episode or lower an elevated mood state so you did not have to be hospitalized.
But do you need to take psych meds forever? Do you know the harmful effects it may have on your mind, body and soul if you do?
Image is from ClipArtLord.com.