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When the Medication Doesn't Work

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Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

Sometimes it feels like there is a pill for everything. Take an Advil to help your headache go away, take some melatonin to help you sleep at night, or take some Dramamine for motion sickness. In a world where healing seems to come in a bottle, it makes sense that we would want to tackle our mental illnesses with prescriptions.

Medication has helped countless people regain control of their lives. The harsh stigma is going down, in part due to the wave of celebrities who are bravely transparent about their recovery journeys. But as the conversation on medication opens up, we can’t forget to talk about what happens when the medication doesn’t work.

Our brains are beautifully diverse, and there are medications that will do wonders for some and nothing for others. This means that if you start a medication and don’t feel any improvements, you might start to think there is something wrong with you.

For example, let’s say you start an antidepressant and weeks later still don’t feel any change in your mood. You might start to wonder if your depression is too big for even medication to handle.

You might want to give up on asking for help.

But there is good news here. You are not the only person who has ever struggled to find the right medication. It can be demoralizing to go through prescription after prescription and still feel like nothing is getting better, but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you.

That doesn’t mean you are too far gone to get the help you need.

So as we talk about medication, let’s not forget those of us who are struggling to find a prescription that works best for our unique neurological makeup. It can be incredibly difficult when you hope a new medication will work just like Advil, fixing whatever you want to fix in a short amount of time, only to discover it doesn’t work at all. Sometimes it takes a few months. Sometimes years.

Medication isn’t for everyone, but help is. Find what helps you and stick with it.

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Thinkstock photo via nensuria

Originally published: October 26, 2017
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