Medication Monday: The Waiting Game

Another Monday means another Medication Monday, the weekly series that examines some of the medications available for mental illnesses, as well as some of the common issues that come about when dealing with mental health medication. This week we are talking about the waiting game. 

And there are actually two aspects to the waiting game. The first aspect is that you often have to wait to get in with a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist who can prescribe you the right medication and manage those medications correctly. That was, in part, the case with me. While my primary care doctor was able to start me on Lexipro fairly quickly, when I needed to re-examine my medications, I had to wait months to get in with a psychiatrist. And I was lucky during that waiting game because I already had the Lexipro doing my heavy lifting, it wasn’t like I was left waiting without any type of relief. 

The other type of waiting game that commonly occurs when dealing with mental health medications, particularly SSRIs, is that they take time to become effective. While I am guessing most of us wishes are antidepressants could work with the speed and efficacy of Advil tackling a headache, the fact is that it often takes 4-6 weeks for medications to fully take effect and bring about some of the changes a patient might be waiting for. And the even shittier aspect of that reality is that the side effects that can come with these medications don’t also wait to start kicking in, meaning for the first few weeks you could be experiencing only side effects and not much relief. 

Yet as someone who has at least some experience with both of these issues, I can say that, at least for me, the waiting game has definitely been worth it. The medication has allowed me to have far fewer major depressive episodes and less intense anxiety. And while I still think I need to adjust my medications some, that doesn’t mean there are definite benefits that I’ve been able to experience once I got to the other end of these waiting games. Whether or not medication is right for you, however, is a decision you have to reach on your own after talking with your medical provider about it. As I frequently remind readers, this series is not meant as a substitute for medical advice, but rather a brief informative introduction to mental health medications and some of their corresponding issues. 

And as always, thanks for reading. I promise you won’t have to wait too long for the next Dark Tales Project post.

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