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Thread: Psychotropic Medications

  1. #1
    Who are you? Walrus's Avatar
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    Default Psychotropic Medications

    Iím currently reading a book about the effects of psychotropic medications called Your Drug May Be Your Problem, which I picked up in the bookstore on Sunday. Iíve been on antidepressants for years Ė five and a half years to be exact, and Iíve always taken them without question Ė the doctors always seemed to know what was best, and so I did what they said. But after meeting people with different views on medication, and maturing emotionally over the years, Iíve begun to wonder Ė how do they affect me? Why am I taking medication without really knowing anything about them?

    The book, I will admit, is very slanted. It vehemently denies any positive effect of medications, and staunchly denounces the idea of taking any sort of psychiatric medication for whatever reason. I donít exactly agree with this philosophy, because I do believe medication helps me people Ė to what degree is another matter. The authors, however, take a black-and-white stance and insist that medication is unhelpful and just causes more trouble than itís worth. Iíve heard many people talk about how medication is useless, but they never seem to come up with a better solution. Yes, counseling is an option, but for some people, they can remain in therapy for years and never improve.

    The book agrees that sometimes there may be a chemical imbalance in the brain, which is often a stance that pharmaceutical companies take when advertising their drugs. However, the authors claim that psychotropic drugs themselves alter the chemical balance of the brain, therefore causing more problems and not actually fixing the original problem.

    For instance, the authors cite the fact that when in testing, medications are first tested on healthy animals, and they classify the medication by the type of side effects the animals experience. After going through the animal trials, they give healthy humans the medication, and again classify the medication by the type of side effects the subjects experience. Finally, the researchers will give the medication in a clinical trial to patients, and once again, they will classify the medication by the side effects. Each type of medication has different side effects; stimulants, for instance, make patients experience irritability, hyperactivity, insomnia, seizures, nervousness, confusion, mania, and depression. Using these facts, the authors assert that the medications do not actually ďsolveĒ a chemical imbalance, but simply create a new one that overrides the previous existing one.

    Indeed, I believe medications can often cause more problems than theyíre worth. For instance, when I was on Wellbutrin, I experienced a manic-like state, which is a common side effect. I had to be promptly taken off, and on other medications, Iíve had significant weight gain and lethargy. However, if the medications always aggravate the situation, as the book seems to imply, why would people take the medications in the first place?

    Additionally, the authors state that there are many serious side effects of medications, such as

    The book counters that by stating 75% of the medicationís effect is the placebo effect, in which the patient places faith in the drug and the simple thought that the medication will help them makes them feel better. The other 25% is the active placebo effect, where the existence of side effects makes the patient feel like the medication is working.

    This is a legitimate argument, for the placebo effect has been seen many times in medication trials, so I donít have any facts to counter that. However, I think some medications really do work, and saying itís all in our head is a bit extreme.

    Pharmaceutical companies claim the medications calm the patient down if the patient is experiencing, say, for instance, psychosis. However, the authors argue, this is at a price, for the medications will block the dopamine and subdue the patient at the cost of blunted emotions and numerous other side effects. Due to the dopamine in the brain being inhibited by an antipsychotic, the brain must compensate for the deficit by creating more dopamine than usual. When the patient is taken off the medications, the brain has a surplus amount of dopamine production.

    Iíve heard this before as well, and this effect occurs in other medications, such as antacid medications. If a person has constant acid reflux, for instance, they might take Tums. Tums is an antacid that represses the production of stomach acids. In order to compensate for the lack of acids, the stomach produces even more to produce a normal level. While that may be fine while the patient is on the medication, once the medication is tapered off, the stomach is still used to producing too much acid.

    Even with the evidence that the book puts forth to prove medications are bad, I still have a hard time accepting that no psychotropic medications are helpful. How do they explain the suppression of psychotic episodes in schizophrenics? Counseling, while helpful, has its limits. It canít stop hallucinations. Medications canít be a black-and-white situation; there must be a gray area somewhere. I personally believe medications can be helpful, but for short periods of time. I donít believe in staying on medications for decades, because then the brain really does become dependent on them. Medications, like illegal drugs, can be addictive and after a certain period of time, the brain is unable to function without them.

    Discuss.

  2. #2
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    Wow. I take mediation for AD(Anxiety disorder). I never thought about it that way.

  3. #3
    Street Justice Hero Fullmetal's Avatar
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    I can't comment on a book i haven't read, and you already know most of my stances on this stuff. I will not be redundant.

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    I’ve heard many people talk about how medication is useless, but they never seem to come up with a better solution. Yes, counseling is an option, but for some people, they can remain in therapy for years and never improve.
    Counseling is almost impossible for most physiological disorders. Bipolar needs to medication to imbalance the heavy chemicals in their brain. Usually, these type of mental disorders are needed pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatment. I'm guessing the book talks alot about their side of the ethics?


    Indeed, I believe medications can often cause more problems than they’re worth. For instance, when I was on Wellbutrin, I experienced a manic-like state, which is a common side effect. I had to be promptly taken off, and on other medications, I’ve had significant weight gain and lethargy. However, if the medications always aggravate the situation, as the book seems to imply, why would people take the medications in the first place
    Agreed.

    I want to read more, but I'm getting way to tired to concentrate Walrus.

  5. #5
    Everyone is shitty and weird. Me? I'm normal and cool. Giant Squid's Avatar
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    Certain mental conditions such as Schizophrenia, Bipolarity, Zoanthropy, Clinical Depression, etc. are the only disorders where medication is understandable due to the crippling nature of the problem. While not necessary on rare occasions, the majority of time medication is required to exist in modern society for the sufferers.

  6. #6
    Erebussoul
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    I agree slightly with the book, in that many of the drugs are just placebos that are there to make you feel like something is making you better, but then again there are also drugs that are "necessary" to help with some diseases. The reason I put this in quotes is because most of these drugs come from natural sources, and these natural sources are many times much healthier than the drug form. I know it sounds crazy to push natural medicines all the way, but I've researched them a little and what I've found seems to be that the side effects of herbal medicine seem to be small, if you take the herbal medicines under proper care, and not from some shady store that's out to make some quick cash on some gullible person with a mental imbalance. Now this only leaves one form of medicine that is acceptable to me, and that is when there is no other choice but to have a synthetic material made when there is no natural way to acquire the medicine needed, and trust me that is rare.

  7. #7
    Who are you? Walrus's Avatar
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    The only herb that I know a bit about that has been used to treat mental disorders is St. John's Wort, and that's supposed to have some not-so-great side effects.

    But I guess side effects is the cost when treating a mental illness with medication. Antipsychotic medications are supposed to have some of the worst side effects, and that's why you always hear about schizophrenics going off their medications and then having a breakdown.

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