I Can't Function Without My Medication, But, As A Society, I Think We're Overmedicated

I Can't Function Without My Medication, But, As A Society, I Think We're Overmedicated

We have a problem. And we owe it to ourselves and to those in need to figure it out.

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It doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that we have a serious pill problem in this country. In the midst of an opioid epidemic that's ravaging communities across every state, the numbers are seriously staggering. The US makes up 5% of the world's population and consumes approximately 80% of the world's prescription opioid drugs. More than 63,600 people died of a drug overdose in 2016 and roughly two-thirds of these deaths were caused by opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers.

Yes, we have a problem.

But there's another population that's falling victim to our pill-popping tendencies. We are severely overmedicating the mentally ill and failing to give those suffering the appropriate tools to manage their illness. According to recent studies, 57% of people with mental health problems are being treated solely with medications without any form of psychotherapy, up from 44% in 1998.

The CDC found that often times, patients receive psychotropic medications without being evaluated by a mental health professional and are therefore made unaware of alternative treatments that might have greater long-term success. And the results of this oversight are clear. In a study of antidepressants versus cognitive behavioral therapy, 54% of the drug group saw a return of symptoms after trial, as opposed to the 17% amongst the CBT group.

What does this mean in practice? It means that some of our most vulnerable, those suffering from mental illness, are repeatedly left without the resources they most need to recover, even when they go to great lengths to try to get help.

The use of psychotropic drugs by adult Americans increased 22% from 2001 to 2010, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychotropic medication. There was a fivefold increase in antipsychotics consumption between 1993 and 2002 and a threefold increase for antidepressants between 1997 and 2002. The rapid increase in medication consumption without a mirroring increase in psychotherapy utilization reflects that there is a very significant problem of overmedicating amongst the mentally ill community.

I need medication to function. Medication, in combination with therapy and lifestyle changes, has saved my life — or, more accurately, allowed me to save myself. But that doesn't mean I haven't had negative experiences with this kind of medication, as well. And it doesn't mean the first line of defense should be antipsychotics without any further support.

We have a problem. And we owe it to ourselves and to those in need to figure it out.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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7 Ways To Calm Your Mind, Body, And Soul During An Anxiety Attack

It is OK not to be OK.

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Everyone gets anxiety attacks whether you will admit it or not. Seven little things that help me find my inner peace are ones I feel everyone should be aware of.

1. Try the "5, 4, 3, 2, 1" grounding exercise.

Answer these five questions out loud for sensory awareness:

What are five things you can see?

What are four things you can feel?

What are three things you can hear?

What are two things you can smell?

What is one thing you love about yourself?

2. Try out this breathing .GIF.

Breathe In Help GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

3. Listen to a song that reduces your anxiety.

4. Use some lavender oil.

Rub it on your temples.

Put some on your wrists.

Inhale.

*Calming.*

5. Tense up your muscles (and then relax).

This may sound counter-intuitive, but just give it a try:

Start tensing at your toes and move up through your body — legs, abdomen, arms, neck, and jaw. Hold it for four counts. Then, relax your muscles. Feel the tension melt out of you.

6. Download an app on your phone.

There are my top apps for helping with anxiety (and they are FREE):

"Recolor" (a coloring book app).

"Wordscapes" (like a crossword puzzle).

"PicrossLUNA" (kind of a play-off of sudoku).

"Words With Friends 2" (just like Scrabble).

7. Reach into your freezer and grab an ice cube.

Just one of many distraction methods.

Reach into the freezer and grab an ice cube or an ice pack.

Hold it firmly in your hand.

Place it on your toes.

The idea is to distract your mind from anything else.

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