- Psychological Issues
Many people take medication to help control or manage the symptoms of their illness. A clear knowledge and understanding of your medication and possible side effects combined with knowledge and understanding of both oneself and one’s illness is often important in achieving a sense of personal control over the symptoms of the illness.
Knowledge enhances your ability to self manage your medication to get the maximum benefits from it while reducing the potential for side effects and the risk of relapse. research has shown that the average risk of relapse is 70% for people who stop their medication but the risk of relapse reduces to 30% for people who keep taking their medication as prescribed.
Acquiring knowledge also enhances your ability to negotiate effectively with the treating doctor about dose, frequency and the types of medication choices. Keeping up with current advances in medication research and the new drugs as they become available also increases your medication and treatment options.
There are a number of different areas that would be useful to know including:
Some people are concerned about the dosage of medication. For some people a low dosage of medication is a sign of being well while a high dosage indicates illness. This can apply also to the amount of times per day the person needs to take the medication. Each medication is different in strength and absorption rate and these are the factors which will determine the appropriate times and frequency of your prescription. Rather than become overly concerned, a more constructive approach is to work with your doctor and mental health worker to look at your individual reaction to the medication you have been prescribed.
It is important to have a clear and thorough understanding of the medication you are taking to be able to report it’s effects and side effects and to deal more effectively with any side effects and/or symptoms. It is important to continue taking the medication as prescribed, speak to your doctor as soon as problems arise and negotiate the management together.
If you feel uncomfortable or have any difficulty doing this then there are a number of ways to address this issue including-
The side effects of medications can fall anywhere between not a problem, slightly annoying, uncomfortable, distressing and for some people totally unacceptable. Usually when a person ceases the medication the side effects subside within days and the person feels better. Because any negative effects of ceasing medication takes longer to become apparent, it is common for a person to conclude that the medication has been doing them more harm than good.
Some ways of managing side effects include:
Some people stop taking medication when they feel well. Others say that taking medication is a sign that they are still unwell, convince themselves that they do not need medications and cease taking them. research shows that relapse is higher for those people who cease their medication before they are completely symptom free or before the episode of their illness is completely controlled.
A common reason for ceasing medication is that it does not appear to be working. Either the symptoms have not been controlled or not fully controlled.
This may simply be dose related and an adjustment to the dose of your current medication or changing to another medication may be the answer.
However, it is important to note that medication alone may not be the answer to symptom management. Other management strategies need to be used at the same time.