Medication Management is a key piece in helping individuals maintain mental wellness. In many cases, medication is a stepping-stone that enables individuals to get to a place of wellness where they are then able to engage in other important aspects of treatment.
There are some myths or misconceptions about mental health and medication – here are our top five
1. Medication is a quick fix for mental illness or a “crutch” which does not get to the root of the problem. This is false; the treatment of mental illness is a multi-faceted approach that requires management with a combination of treatment options including medication, therapy, skills building, and support. For many with mental illness, medication is necessary, just like it would be for a diabetic taking insulin.
2. Once I start feeling better, I can stop taking medication or I will notice right away if a medication is working for me. This is false. Many medications that are utilized to support mental wellness can take up to a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks before full therapeutic effect. Once client’s start to feel better it is essential to maintain a consistent medication regimen and if in discussion with the care team it is thought that it would be appropriate to discontinue a medication it should be done slowly and with the supervision of the care team to avoid any unnecessary withdrawal symptoms or potential risk of symptom reappearance.
3. Medication will change your personality or prevent you from feeling like yourself. This is false. Medication is used to help support your mental wellness and therefore the aim is to dose medication according to your individual needs to ensure that you still feel like yourself and to support you in optimal functioning.
4. Individuals who receive an injectable medication are sicker than those who receive it in another form. This is false; in fact, injections give client’s more choice about medication delivery and more flexibility, as most individuals that are on an injectable medication only have to have the medication administered every two weeks, monthly, or every three months.
5. There are no interactions when taking natural health products. This is false. Another misconception that we see with mental health and medication is the perceived safety of natural health products in the management of mental illness in comparison to prescription medications or that natural products used in conjunction with prescription medications to treat mental illness cannot cause harm. Natural health products have the potential to cause a significant amount of harm. An example of this is how cannabis can have a significant impact on antipsychotic medications, decreasing potential efficacy and with some antidepressants, they can significantly increase the amount of antidepressant in the blood stream, increasing the risk of side effects. Sharing you’re your care team the substances that a client is using enables safe and effective assessments and care.
Click here to view our brochure on safe practices for medication use.
If you are in crisis or wish to discuss whether CMHA has the right service for you, call Here 24/7: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE 247).
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