We can’t ignore reality — there’s long been a stigma associated with taking medication for mental health disorders.
Luckily, as mental health awareness continues to increase, a shift is finally happening: Folks are beginning to understand that your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
We know how important it is to take daily medicine for ongoing physical conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or asthma, so why should taking medication for mental health be any different?
Medication can be a really great tool to help regulate your mental health. Depending on your diagnosis, there are different types of medications your healthcare provider could recommend.
Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed type of mental health medication. Some examples include Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft.
Antidepressants can be extremely helpful for people suffering from depression or anxiety disorders. Like all medications, antidepressants can also come with some downsides, which is why it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits with your provider.
Let’s review some of the pros and cons of taking medication for anxiety or depression.
Pros of taking medication for mental health
- It can improve your mood. Medication can help you feel better and relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression. It can improve your overall quality of life and help you examine situations in a more balanced way.
- It can help you be more motivated. Medication can help improve your motivation and concentration, leading to better habits and positive life changes. It can also help you with other aspects of your treatment plan, like participating in therapy, doing everyday activities, and completing self-care tasks.
- It’s effective. Medication is safe and effective when taken as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Antidepressants have all gone through clinical trials and been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Cons of taking medication for mental health
- There are side effects. Some medications can cause fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, decreased libido, or fluctuations in your weight. It’s important to keep your doctor informed of any side effects you experience while on medication.
- It can take time. Some medications can take 2-4 weeks to kick in, so you may not feel the benefits right away. If you haven’t seen improvement in 6 weeks, you may need to try another medication.
- It needs to be taken regularly. If doses are skipped or taken irregularly, medication will be less effective and can be mentally harmful in some cases. Also, you should not abruptly stop taking medication, or you may experience withdrawal symptoms.
The bottom line: Medication can be a great tool in helping you manage anxiety or depression, and there’s no reason to feel shame in taking it. But before you decide, have a conversation with your doctor and therapist, if you have one.
At StarMed, we’re proud to offer affordable access to behavioral health.
With regular counseling sessions, our professional, licensed behavioral health providers are here to help you cope with trauma, manage anxiety and depression, and help you establish internal healing so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted to.
Learn more at starmed.care/behavioral-health.