Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art. It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters; it deals with the very processes of life, which must be understood before they may be guided.
You’ve seen the commercials.
You’ve heard the promises. And the objections.
But, how does medication fit with your emotional wellness story?
It’s natural to have questions. Most people do.
Today we’re taking a closer look at 7 questions you might be asking about medication:
Can medication help me?
Maybe you’re already in therapy and wondering if medication could be a helpful component to add to your care.
Or maybe all of this emotional wellness stuff is completely new to you, and you’re wondering where to start.
(It can feel overwhelming at first, but rest assured: We’re here to help you determine your next step.)
So, you’re wondering if medication is right for you?
The short answer:
For many of the concerns that bring folks to therapy, medication can be a valuable tool to help address what’s going on.
While for others, medication might not be appropriate.
(There might not even be a medication option for what’s bringing you in.)
The best way to find out is to request an appointment to talk through your options with our medication management team.
I feel like there are so many medications out there. How do I choose the right one?
When you meet with a member of our medication management team the goal is, first, to determine if medication is right for you.
If it is, the next step is to choose the right medication.
Just like therapy, this is a team effort:
Your job is to be honest and open about what you’ve been noticing. And to share any questions you may have.
Our job is to listen, ask you some questions of our own, and then talk through the options.
Ultimately, it’s your decision. But, we’ll be here to support you every step of the way.
How long will it take to start working?
Again, the short answer is:
While most medications begin “working” right away, the length of time before you notice a difference can vary quite a bit.
Think of other medications you may have taken before:
Some are designed to spring into action immediately. (Like a rescue inhaler for an asthma attack.)
Others take noticeable effect throughout the hour. (Like a mild painkiller for a headache.)
Still others can take longer for the effects to become apparent. (Like an antibiotic.)
During your consultation, we’ll make sure you have all the information you need, so you know what to expect.
How will I know if it’s helping?
Depending on what led you to consider medication in the first place, the answer to this question can vary widely.
Take a moment to consider the changes you noticed in your life. The things that confused or concerned you.
When medication is doing its job, you may start to feel things returning to the way they were before.
Usually, these changes aren’t sudden or dramatic.
Instead, most people notice slight shifts in how they feel over time…
Greater ease settling into bed at night.
A little more energy at the start of the day.
An extra bit of patience with life’s challenges.
…until one day you realize you feel like you used to. Better than you have in awhile.
- Make a list of all the signs that’ll let you know you’re starting to feel like yourself again. What will feel different?
- Share the list with your provider during your medication consultation.
How long will I need medication? Will I keep taking it forever?
Well-managed medication can enable you to engage more fully in therapy, self-care, and all the other activities that make up your story.
Some people find that they benefit from consistent medication management over time.
While for others, medication may play only a temporary role in their emotional wellness.
It’s all about what’s right for you.
- Take a few minutes to think of all the healthy habits you’ve adopted over the course of your life. Which ones served you well for a certain period of time? Which ones have become a regular part of your routine?
Yeah, but… isn’t this just an “easy way out”?
If you’re considering medication as part of your emotional wellness care, you already understand:
Nothing about this is easy.
- It’s hard to honestly evaluate your life.
- It’s hard to acknowledge you could use some help.
- It’s hard to sort out the solid information from the junk.
- It’s hard to take action.
And yet, not doing these things is also hard:
- It’s hard to live with pain, worry, and self-doubt.
- It’s hard to go it alone.
- It’s hard to ignore what you’re noticing.
- It’s hard to resist resources that can help you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about choosing which “hard” you prefer.
If you do choose medication, you’ll have a responsibility:
- To be consistent with your habits.
- To be honest with your provider.
- To be an active participant in your own emotional wellness.
It’s not easy, but we’ll be right here to help you.
Will this take the place of therapy?
In most cases, no.
While it’s true that medication may be the solution of choice for some people…
More often than not, therapy is what helps create lasting change.
Think of it this way:
Medication can be an important tool. One that helps you engage more fully in all the other parts of your care…
Maintaining restorative, consistent sleep habits.
Preparing nourishing, well-rounded meals.
Moving your body in ways that feel challenging and pleasurable.
Relying on others for support (in good times and tough times).
Adopting a perspective of gratitude.
Creating a proactive self-care plan.
Bringing more mindfulness to your day.
Putting your natural strengths to good use.
Creating meaningful experiences and savoring them.
…and giving therapy a try.
Many people find that the benefits of medication are enhanced and solidified through therapy.
That’s when you really start to see changes in your story:
Greater capacity for love and openness.
More patience with life’s demands (and the demands of others).
Skills to assert your boundaries and needs in healthy ways.
Stronger connection to your own purpose and to the world around you.
Medication, therapy, or a combined approach.
Whatever’s best for your emotional wellness, we’re here to help you.
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