Why Don’t People With Mental Illness Take Their Meds?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-24783113-african-woman-holding-her-hairRichard* was hearing voices. He went to a psychiatrist who prescribed medication for the symptoms. In a matter of weeks, the voices went away and Richard was able to resume a normal life. Two years later, feeling healthy and strong, a thought crossed Richard’s mind; I don’t need to take pills anymore.

Jasmine was growing majorly depressed. As her mood plummeted she lost any desire to take care of herself. Showers, getting out of bed, and eating were struggles. She began to ignore the medication she had been taking for years. Why bother, she thought. I don’t matter.

Some people can reach the point they do not need the medical help they once did. Others will be on medicine for the rest of their lives. I am not qualified to say what determines the difference. I do know that untreated depression tends to become more frequent and intense as time goes by. Major depressivephoto-24774920-stressed-man-with-laptop episodes can actually weaken a brain so it is more susceptible to future episodes. 

Richard began to hear voices again. This time they were louder and more controlling. He is struggling to gain some ground against his condition. Returning to his medication, he discovered it no longer works. He tells people to never stop their medications because that choice will backfire.

Jasmine tried to end her life. What a simple medication change could have accomplished went unchecked because she didn’t disclose her worsening symptoms to anyone. She continues to take medication sporadically because her brain still tells her she is worthless.

Another reason people may not take their medication is that they never get the prescription filled. Some people can simply not afford care for potentially fatal mental health struggles.

For more information, see Psychology Today’s article: http://bit.ly/1VhWPjV


NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com

*names have been changed

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