When I first started writing about psychiatric meds, I thought there was a simple dichotomy between the drugs people took for psychiatric conditions, and the drugs they took for physical problems.
I’ve since learned there’s considerably more blurring of the lines. Drugs developed as antidepressants are used to treat conditions involving chronic pain, for example, and drugs developed as anti-seizure medications are used to treat anxiety.
I’m curious to know, then: How does this affect people’s views of psychiatric meds? Is a drug more or less acceptable when employed for a mental condition than for a bodily one?
A reader who commented on one of my previous posts argued that I shouldn’t take meds for anxiety and depression because I suffer from migraines, the true source of my problems, she assumed. Unlike mood disorders, she seemed to consider migraines a physical, and therefore legitimate, medical condition.
But as my recent experience with meds for my migraines shows, this is a false dichotomy. As I mentioned in my previous post, migraines have induced me to take multiple drugs that are prescribed for psychiatric indications, including the mood stabilizers Depakote and Topamax, and the antidepressant Pamelor.
I viewed all these drugs as comparatively heavy-duty compared to my regimen of psychiatric meds and was only induced to take them because I couldn’t find anything else for the migraines.
As it turned out, I had alarming, adverse reactions to all three of these medications. The most recent happened last night, when I had what seemed like an allergic reaction to Pamelor. My face turned red, and my face, hands and throat swelled up. I had trouble swallowing and felt short of breath.
To me, these adverse reactions get at a contradiction that the critics of psychiatric meds tend not to acknowledge. Why is it somehow reasonable and acceptable to take psychiatric medications for a physical condition like migraines, but unacceptable, even dangerous, to take those same medications for psychological issues like depression and anxiety?
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha[/color][/i]