Written by Sofie Dreskin
Illustration by Isabella Frescura
It is not unusual for someone to tell a person with an anxiety disorder that they need to “relax” or “spend more time outside” rather than accepting the fact they need medicine to address their chemical imbalance. Simple solutions to combat stress will generally not reduce symptoms of a mental illness. Taking medication is normal for many people. You cannot compare ways to reduce stress between a neurotypical person and someone struggling with an anxiety disorder.
Treatments for mental health problems can be different for everyone struggling with an illness. There are varying valid ways to treat mental disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Medication is among those ways and can be extremely effective in alleviating symptoms of disorders.
Prescription medication to address chemical imbalances helps a lot of people with mental illness regain control over their behaviors and emotions. Medication doesn’t change someone’s personality or craft an emotionally perfect human being. For many people, it removes symptoms of disorders that alter their personality and mood.
Seeking medical help is not an easy out. It is hard to accept that you cannot cope with something wrong in your brain by yourself. The process of finding dosages and medications that work best for the individual is ongoing.
Taking medication for a mental disorder is generally no different than taking it to cure a physical problem. Advil for a twisted ankle treats pain as a symptom of an injury and Adderall treats hyperactivity as a symptom of ADHD. Prescription medications are a regular part of life for many people and are taken more often than short term pain killers. Both medications should be treated as assistance for a person to make their lives more comfortable and functional.
The Anxiety Center says that 43% of North Americans take prescription medication daily for a mental disorder. Anxiety medications rank 7th and 8th in the most commonly taken medications in the United States. These statistics show how common it is for people to use prescription medication to treat a mental disorder. It is not an unusual occurrence for people to need medicine to alleviate symptoms of their mental illness. The stigma surrounding medication does more harm than help. 43% of North Americans should not feel bad that a cup of tea or massage can not alone cure their mental illness.
Mental disorders are complex, and whether or not someone takes medication to treat them is something that should be decided by their doctor. An outsider is not qualified to tell somebody if medication is or isn’t the best option for their health. For many people struggling with mental illness, going outside or relaxing is not going to improve their health and they should not be ridiculed for needing medical help adjusting a chemical imbalance in their brain. A doctor is the only one qualified to give advice and prescribe medicine to treat a mental disorder.
Taking medicine for many people is an important step in improving their mental health. Normalizing medication as a valid treatment helps the people who use it accept and embrace that unchangeable aspect of their lives.