Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Medication Is Important, Always

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Medication Is Important, Always

Article excerpt

Dear Open Mind: I have been told I have a mental illness. Sometimes I get so bad that I get agitated, withdraw from everybody and hear voices, day and night. Other times I am fine and don't like to take my medication. I don't understand why I have to take the medication when I feel good.

Taking responsibility for your illness includes maintaining your treatment regimen and in this way, really improving the quality of your life. Actually, there are three components to this regimen. The first, medications, help with relief of symptoms. Many individuals experience psychotic symptoms and may hear voices, have visual hallucinations, and have persistent delusions. This can be very unpleasant and frightening.

The majority of patients suffer tremendously with these various types of symptoms. For some, the voices never totally disappear, but only decrease. For others, there are symptoms of insomnia or the inability to eat because of persistent delusions. Medication will relieve some of those symptoms. Sometimes your physician can lower the dose of the medication, but you should never attempt to do this on your own as it can result in serious reaction or return of the symptoms being treated. The second component involves family and interpersonal relationships. Many times, because of the delusions, individuals isolate themselves from others and may have alienated family and friends. As the delusions become more controlled and sometimes dispelled by the medications, fractured relationships can be significantly improved. The final component is one of autonomy (independence), which most of us take for granted. In the past, persons will mental illness often starved to death or died from overexposure because of their inability to take care of their basic needs. This was before many of the psychiatric medications had been invented and hospitals had treatment programs. …

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