Stopping The Stigma Against Psychiatric Medication

Having a broken leg is the same as having a broken mind, the only difference is that the latter isn’t visible. When you break your leg, you seek help. You also experience pain, you get a diagnosis, and you seek professional care. So why does having a mental illness constitute any less?

Most psychiatric medication is associated with being numbed out, not bringing out your truest self, or even taking the easy way out. People view it as unnecessary, that the sufferer of mental illness is capable of handling it on his own, and that he should fight his fight, without the external use of drugs.

But why?

Why is it, that the invisibility of an illness takes away from its right to be treated as though it were one?

And as an outside observer, who are you to judge that someone does or doesn’t need medication? Are you a professional? Do you have any understanding of the illness and what is required of it for its necessary treatment?

This thought is often associated with the idea that these medications bring you down, and that one should seek help the ‘natural’ way. However, all mental illnesses are marked by a chemical imbalance or misstructure in the brain. Whether it’s the overactivation of the amygdala or low levels of serotonin. And just because we can’t see it, does not make it any less painful. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t disrupt the person’s life, and it definitely does not mean that it’s ‘ignorant’ to use medication to treat it.  

For example, when someone suffers from obsessive thoughts, therapy alone can be insufficient. The thoughts can be intense and swift enough, such that they have no chance of handling them without the support of medication. Assuming that this person is taking the easy way out, without ever having any chance of sharing their experience, is what’s ignorant.

For someone who suffers from schizophrenia, their psychotic thoughts require antipsychotic medication, otherwise, they put themselves in danger. Ironically, some people justify the use of their drugs because its justification is more ‘obvious’. But it is still a mental illness just like any other, further proving the fact that this has never been an argument of necessary or not, it is a problem of how ‘convincing’ it is to the observer. But how can I ever convince you of something you know nothing about how it feels like to have it? And given that premise, are you being ‘convinced’ the prerequisite for it being justifiable?

By recklessly carrying this judgement we are demeaning the experiences of others. This is not to say that some psychiatrists don’t shove pills down their patients’ throats, or that some people do choose the natural way. But there is absolutely nothing ‘easy’ about choosing to seek psychiatric medication to help when it deems itself absolutely necessary.

An illness is an illness, irrespective of the extent to which it can be seen, and you not seeing it does not make it any less of one.

WE SAID THIS: Going Mental: Isn’t It Time We Break The Stigma Attached To Psychological Disorders?