The Decision to Medicate


The decision to medicate is not always an easy one; it is personal and rarely straightforward. So, how do you approach this important decision? Unfortunately, there is not always an obvious right answer.

Many heavily rely on the opinion of their physicians. Yet, in this day and age, of ready access to healthcare information, many more individuals are choosing to be more autonomous in their decisions about managing their health.

At Healthwise, we value and respect your right to decide. To help you better approach this decision, we believe it is helpful to consider a risk / benefit ratio. In short, if the benefits outweigh the risks, you do; but if the risks outweigh the benefits, you don't.

We also encourage you to consider the risks and benefits of medication versus the risks and benefits of other treatments or of not treating the condition at all.

To learn more about Medication Management Services at Healthwise click here.

Below are some tips we believe will help you make the best decision for you or your loved one:

 

  • Begin with a thorough evaluation by a qualified professional. Accurate diagnosis is essential to effective treatment. A considerate and thorough evaluation is the first step toward getting the help you need.
  • Consider the benefits of medication. Does the issue you want help with warrant medication or are there other treatments that could be tried first? Will the benefits be short or long term? Medication can support the psychotherapy process. When people are in crisis or are compromised in their functioning, it can be difficult for them to focus on self-growth and change. In these instances, medication can serve to stabilize the individual and allow them to focus on creating the change they need to overcome whatever obstacle they are facing.
  • Get accurate information on the side effects of the medication you are considering. The most reliable source of accurate information will come from a trusted healthcare professional who has expertise in prescribing the medication. Be wary of information you find online as it can be inaccurate or misleading.
  • Medications are usually most helpful when they are a part of a comprehensive treatment plan. A combination of therapy and medication has been demonstrated by research to be more effective in treating many behavioral health issues than either in isolation.
  • Take your time making the decision. In most instances, you have time to do your research and educate yourself so that you can make the best decision. However, there may be times where issues constitute more of a medical emergency and will consequently require you to decide quickly.
  • Sometimes the only way to know is to try. For many, the decision comes down to a trial period of the medication.
  • Remember that your decision is reversible. Whatever you choose to do, remember that you can change your mind. Medication can be discontinued if it is not considered to be effective or if the side effects are not tolerable. You should always consult the prescribing physician should you decide to discontinue as many medications require a weaning off period.
  • If you decide to medicate, try to keep track of your progress. Consider using a chart to track how you are feeling and when you are taking your medication so that you can document your progress.

I have been working with my psychologist at Healthwise on and off for two years now.  I honestly feel like she understands me and she has helped me in so many ways.  I am not sure where I'd be without her help and support. -G. L. Maple Grove

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