Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding medication and mental health in the 21st Century. But for those who stigmatize the use of medication for issues of mental health, they must ask themselves if they would stigmatize anyone else for treating a chronic disease with medication. Would they have a problem with someone taking insulin for their diabetes? Could they take issue with someone taking cholesterol medication for heart disease, or criticize someone taking chemo medication for cancer treatment? Of course not. Yet, medication and medication management still get scorn. This is both unacceptable and needs to change.
What Exactly Is Medication Management?
The truth is that medication management for mental health is relatively self-explanatory on its face. It is regularly taking medication for a mental health disorder (or co-occurring disorders) to reduce or eliminate its symptoms.
However, medication management is significantly more complex than that. It is about working closely with psychiatrists and medical professionals to not only ensure that the right medications are being taken, but that they are being taken appropriately, taken at the right dosage, adjusted as needed according to other medications and/or unanticipated events, and reduced as needed.
Yes, medication management is a very serious business, because it is about ensuring that the medication is effective and that it doesn’t cause any side effects that may jeopardize one’s recovery. An example of this may be treating someone with co-occurring disorders of addiction and mental illness that end up with a medication and/or dosage that they can abuse. Without proper attention, this situation could easily end in a relapse. But, with proper medication management, this scenario can easily be avoided.
What Does Medication Management Look Like in Recovery?
Regarding medication management and what it looks like on a day-to-day basis, it should look relatively uneventful. That is to say other than when an individual is conversing with their psychiatrist.
A responsible psychiatrist is going to be able to diagnose mental health or addiction issues that are going on, assess whether medication is necessary, and what type and dosage is appropriate. From there it must be a close bonded relationship of questioning and feedback to see if the medication is working, or whether something needs to be adjusted.
Ultimately, good medication management will look like any other relationship between a doctor and a client with a chronic disease, such as the ones mentioned in the beginning. Also, there should be little doubt that mental illness and addiction are chronic diseases. This is because they will almost always negatively progress without professional intervention. Many times this intervention includes medication.
Who Is Medication Management For?
Unfortunately, the stigma that surrounds medication management and mental health also affects those individuals who would benefit from it. They ultimately “self-stigmatize” themselves for needing medication. Again, this is unfortunate, because mental health medication can not only make life easier, but it can also be life-saving in many instances.
Medication management is for anyone who struggles with issues of mental health that can be medically treated. Yes, there are some people that medication will not be effective for. These are people with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) for example.
Also, people who are unable to take medication responsibly should either avoid medication out of safety precautions or in extreme instances be administered medication only by a medical professional. Otherwise, there is no reason why someone should not feel comfortable trying medication for mental health issues. As long as it is advised by a psychiatrist of course.
Incorporating Medication Management Into a Recovery Plan
Now, as with any treatment plan in recovery, they are most effective when they are created comprehensively. This includes plans involving medication management.
The truth is that while taking medications for mental health issues may temper or eliminate symptoms, they will only take a person so far. This is why medication should always be accompanied by other treatment modalities, such as rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and/or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
A good way to look at it is that medication will often mute the symptoms of mental illness so that other forms of therapy can get to the deeper underlying issues that often exist and correlate to the disorder. So medication management should always include other therapy and/or treatment modalities.
Getting It Right: The Importance of Creating Balanced Recovery Plans at Lantana Recovery
Here at Lantana Recovery, we fully believe in the efficacy of medication management. This is why we always have an onsite psychiatrist to help our clients with any issues regarding medication that may come up.
In mental health and addiction recovery, it is important to remember that it is our lives that we are working on saving, so what anyone else says (outside of our medical and recovery providers) is irrelevant. Also, this includes any judgments that may come up surrounding medications. This is your life. You are the one advocating for it. We’ll be here to help support you while you do.
Here at Lantana Recovery, we believe that medications can aid recovery by helping our clients manage the various symptoms related to their addiction and/or mental health disorders. For this reason, there is an on-site psychologist who works directly with clients. However, our goal is never to over-medicate or rely on medication for recovery, but rather strike a balance that works best for each of our client’s recovery journeys. Therefore, weaning off of medication and utilizing other treatment methods is crucial for our treatment process. For more information on medication management, how it works, and how it can be incorporated into a comprehensive and effective recovery plan, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.