Sunday, 29 September 2013

Mental Health and Over Medication

Over medication is a term used when a person either knowingly or otherwise takes medication that they do not need. So how can this happen?

  1. Taking medication i.e. for a headache to prevent you from getting one.
  2. Side effects. Often side effects can be mistaken for new symptoms. When this happens you will be prescribed more medication to treat your new symptoms whilst still being prescribed the original medication.
  3. Taking too much of your medication either knowingly or otherwise.
We all know how beneficial medication can be and for many it is an essential part of their daily lives, but, we also know that having to take medication everyday can take it's toll on us physically, i.e.causing liver and kidney damage. The benefit of taking the medication should always outweigh the risks. So, how do you know? Below is a list of questions you should not be afraid to ask before taking any medication.

  1. What are you treating me for? 
  2. What is the drug called and what benefit should I expect it to give me?
  3. How and when should I take it? Some drugs work best taken in a certain way and at certain times.
  4. How long will it be before you start to feel the benefit of the drug.
  5. How long will I need to take them for? 
  6. Should I avoid any foods or drinks? Some types of food or drink can affect the way your medication works.
  7. Should I expect any side effects? It is important to know what to expect i.e. drowsiness that may stop you from driving etc.
  8. What if I miss a dose? With some drugs it is better just to miss the dose altogether to avoid any risks.
  9. Will I need to be tested for anything on a regular basis? Some medications i.e. lithium can be toxic and regular blood tests are needed to safeguard against this.
  10. Is there another name for this medication? It can be important to know this. You may have been prescribed it before under a different name and it didn't work for you, i.e. priadel and lithium carbonate are the same drug.
If, whilst taking your medication you feel different in anyway, check it out. There are lots of mental health websites, with forums, where you can find out what other people are saying about your medication. How it has made them feel and what the thoughts of their doctor was. During my campaign to have the laws changed I have heard so many stories where people have reported feeling certain side effects and their doctor has not listened to them, instead they have prescribed more medication. Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Remember it is your life. You know how you feel. Don't let anyone try to tell you any different. Over medication can kill so if you think it may be happening to you, find out. 

So how do you know if you are over medicated or not. Below are some of the symptoms.
  1. General weakness and fatigue.
  2. Stomach pain.
  3. Coordination and motor problems.
  4. Falling frequently.
  5. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  6. Frequent rashes and skin flushes.
  7. Concentration and memory problems.
  8. Confusion.
  9. Slower thought process.
  10. Irrational thoughts or difficulty with reasoning.
  11. Visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, psychosis.
If in doubt check it out. Do not just stop taking your medication. Speak to your doctor and if you are not happy with what he says get a second opinion. Ask for a review of your medication and make sure you have been taking it correctly. Ask for a full physical examination to rule out any other cause.

If like me you believe that the mental health laws need to be changed to stop, over medication, prolonged incarceration and true freedom of choice, take action now and sign my petition. Thank you.