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.


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.

Popular Right Now

50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

Related Content

Facebook Comments