5 Myths You've Probably Believed About Medication

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's a touchy subject I know.

Not many people want to talk about mental health. It can really be a hot button topic, and difficult because it's also a very sensitive topic.

But there is such stigma surrounding it...

|| STIGMA {noun}: a set of negative, and often unfair, beliefs that a society or group of people have about something. ||

And one of the biggest stigmas surrounding mental health is about medication.

So I've decided to shed some light on the subject.

{{Now this is not just from my experience. This is from the experience of many others, and it's also backed up by research. I would not share any of this with you if I didn't have FACTS for you. Believe me, people who give their personal, uninformed opinions and anecdotes bother me just as much as it does the rest of you.}}

Here are 5 "myths" about medication...replaced by TRUTH...

{1} Myth: Medication will make you "numb".

Truth:  Finding a medication that works is a "trial and error" process. If you start on one that completely changes you, and makes you feel too mellow or subdued...then you need to try a different one, or maybe a different dosage of the one you are on.  Certain types can also "tweak" some anxiety, making it worse {and sometimes unbearable!} for awhile. But that side effect typically doesn't last for more than the first week or two, until your body adjusts, which is why it's essential to "hang in there" with it for awhile before giving up on it totally. But it is completely false that all meds will change your entire personality.

{2} Myth: All you need to overcome depression/anxiety is more willpower...the "just try harder" mentality.

Truth: Let me ask you this...if your child falls out of a tree and breaks her leg, and she's in a great deal of pain and can't walk, would you say to her, "You just aren't trying hard enough to get better"? Or...if you're lying in bed with pneumonia, do you think you can just WILL your body to heal itself? That's ridiculous right? You treat the problem. A disorder of the mind, like depression and anxiety, is a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected. It doesn't matter how much willpower you try to muster up. If your chemistry is off, you can't "fix yourself" with self-talk. Just as a broken bone is extremely physically painful and shows up on an x-ray, or pneumonia is an infection that attacks the body, a chemical imbalance {even if you can't SEE it} is just as real and TREATABLE.

{3} Myth: Going on medication means that you are "crazy".

Truth: A lot of people associate mental illness with school shootings and/or other violent episodes. There is a spectrum to mental illness. But people don't want to be perceived as "mad" or "mental". Above, I talked about a chemical imbalance. Depression is a symptom of that imbalance. It doesn't make you weak or lazy, and especially not crazy! Even the highest levels of mental illness {personality disorder, schizophrenia, etc.} have symptoms that subside and lessen when treated with medication. 

{4} Myth: Antidepressants are addictive.

Truth: It is very important to communicate with your doctor about the medication you are taking. Let's go back to the "trial and error" concept. Just like when it's making you feel worse or "numb", if your meds make you feel TOO GOOD, or more UP  than you should be, that's a red flag, and your doctor should know about it...because that's when it could be dangerous. AND! Once again, that's when it's time to switch to something else. Hence, trial and error.  

{5} Myth: Someone you know took antidepressants and got terrible side effects from it, so you will probably experience it too.

Truth: This truth is pretty simple and doesn't need much explanation...
Medication affects every person differently. One person's side effects and problems with ONE KIND of medication, are not going to be the same for you.

Now, don't get me wrong...

I am all for other methods of treatment!
There's cognitive behavioral therapy {CBT}...which can be great as long as you have a good therapist, and self-talk alone is helpful for you.
There's natural remedies, such as over the counter {OTC} supplements, and essential oils.
And many more!
And I've seen these things work for people...and I think it's great! But some people are a bit more "treatment resistant". And it takes something extra...something more...to truly help them get better.

I would love to hear from ANYONE on this subject! Have you been affected by depression and anxiety, or other mood disorders? Do you take medication, or do you have other ways of dealing with it? Did I miss anything here that should maybe be added to this list of "MYTHS"? Let's talk, and let's end the stigma together!


  1. Thank you for posting this! Those of us who struggle with anxiety/depression while clinging to Jesus know that just "trying harder" doesn't cut it. I'm so thankful for the path of intervention (including counseling and medication) He has led me on and that He continues to give me hope in the dark times that come and go.

  2. I love that you wrote this!! I've been on medicine for anxiety and couldn't agree more with you on all of these truths! Whenever someone tells me they're scared of how medicine will make them feel I tell them "The right medicine is just going to make you feel like you can get through every day without being scared or extremely sad. You're still going to feel things. You WANT to feel things. But that feeling that you can't do it? That's what you want to go away."

    I'm also a huge proponent of EFT or tapping!

  3. Love how you are raising awareness for mental health. I am in the health and also at times suffer from anxiety. But honestly I do not agree to be medicated unless it is the very last resort. Many people begin to depend on the medication and do not bother to learn proper coping skills. It is like taking diet pills but not changing your bad eating habits. Thank you for spreading the awareness!

    Gema from belovedgems.org