The week has rolled back to Monday, which means it is once again time for Medication Monday, the weekly series that looks at some of the mental health medications available. At least that is what normally happens in this series. This week and next week I want to look at some of the other issues surrounding the use of mental health medications. This week we will be looking at the long periods people have to wait to get the necessary medical appointments and next week we will look at the stigma associated with mental health medication.
As I said a while back, I currently take Lexapro to help manage my anxiety and depression. And it works well to a certain extent, but I still battle anxiety more than I would like and depression darkens my door a little too often still as well. So, although it has reduced some of the symptoms, I want to see if there are better options out there. The problem is that the Lexapro prescription came from my primary care physician, who can usually get me in pretty quick if need be. For more nuanced management of my mental health medications, I need a psychiatrist. And for that appointment I have to wait for October (the appointment was made in May).
And this raises a series issue. Management of mental health medication can involve trial and error and monitoring by a specialist. Yet to get the appointments necessary to start this process, patients all too often must wait months, sometimes suffering through their symptoms while they wait for relief. In that regard I am lucky because my Lexapro is still managing my symptoms somewhat.
When we talk about increasing access to mental health treatment, we need to talk about increasing the availability of psychiatric treatment that can offer the best assistance for those who are fine tuning their mental health medications. Otherwise insurance parity laws and some of the other fixes that have come along will all be for naught. And ultimately the point must be to actually help the people who need medications the most.