On Medication

Everyday I take bupropion SR (Wellbutrin), Concerta, fluoxetine (Prozac), Abilify and zolpidem tartrate (Ambien).

For some reason, my mother is always worried about the amount of medication I take. Today I talked to Mom and she asked me if my medication intake has been reduced since I began maintenance ECT. I had to tell her no, and that I didn’t know when that might happen.  She’s hoping that the continued ECT will lead to less medication because she thinks these psych meds are bad for the body.  It’s true that often times a patient may need less medication after ECT, and sure, I wouldn’t mind taking less medication.  But is it more important than being stable, even if it means I rely on a number of drugs? On the other hand, if the number of medication isn’t reduced as a result of ECT, does it mean that the whole treatment is a failure?

It is ultimately my personal decision to have ECT on a continued basis, and I am not questioning that decision. But my mother’s wish to see me take less medication makes me wonder if I should make that one of my eventual goals from this treatment. Now that I think about it, should I have some clear-cut goals, like less medication? What should be the eventual goal of maintenance electroconvulsive therapy?

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3 Comments to “On Medication”

  1. My mother says the same thing about the medications I’m taking. I’ve been on a lot of them, for a lot of years. This will, inevitably, have negative effects on my body as is evidenced by recent blood test results that showed I have elevated liver enzymes, not to mention the medication causing me to gain 100 pounds and become obese -something I am not in a constant battle to fix.

    However, despite the problems that have come or may come from being medicated, I don’t feel that I have much choice in the matter. Without the medication, I am psychotic and cannot function in this world in any kind of healthy way. With the medication, I am not psychotic to the point that I cannot function. I am able to live my life. So, personally, I feel the decision is pretty obvious. I would rather be overweight, overmedicated and able to live my life than thin, unmedicated, and out of my mind, homeless again, or in a hospital again, or unable to work even part-time again, or unable to think again.

    If it comes to the point that I’m facing liver failure, obviously, then, I’d probably have to stop taking these medications, but until things get to a crucial point like that, I plan on doing the only logical thing that I can do, and that is to take the meds because they work for me, and my brain doesn’t work without them.

    I understand where your mom is coming from, but she has not walked in your shoes, and you know better than anyone what is happening with your mind. If you feel the medications help you, then, personally I think you should take them.

  2. A few things.

    First of all, that is a lot of medication. But I totally understand doing what works, and not wanting to change it. So if you are content and healthy with where you are, then stay with that.

    However, there are many problems related to medication, and if any of those are a significant problem/hassle/etc for you, you then maybe you should consider trying to ease off a medication.

    1. As Jennifer mentioned, there is the health problems from medications. At first glance, what sticks out at me in what you take is the Abilify… known to be related to weight gain and diabetes, if I remember correctly. If you don’t have such problems, then… lucky you I guess?

    2. Non-life/health threatening, but significant side effects. Again, don’t know where you stand on these, but if any of them significantly affects your life and you could drop a med without seriously screwing with your mental health… it may be worth the hassle.

    3. The general hassle of taking lots of meds: expense, dependency/withdrawl from missed doses. Most of the time taking meds isn’t a big hassle for me… but every once in awhile, I’ll forget pills on an overnight trip, or be short on cash, or forget to pick up my medication. And then I’ll be reminded how much it sucks to be dependent on a medication for my sanity. So far, this hasn’t been enough for me to consider ditching the meds for more than half a second. But maybe someday.

  3. Keely, thanks so much for your advice. i’ll definitely think about all the points.

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