Some of you may have noticed that although I am a psychiatrist, I rarely comment nor write about my thoughts on psychiatric medications in my blog. I did write a post as a resident physician-in-training in 2010 titled Pill Pusher, which briefly describes my general approach to simplify, minimize, and streamline medication regimens to the least amount of meds needed to provide symptom relief. In some cases, I have successfully worked with my patients to wean off and discontinue all of their psychiatric medications, though the process requires much patience, toleration of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and numerous non-medication approaches to maintain stability off of meds. And most importantly, I believe a trusting doctor-patient relationship is needed to provide education of potential withdrawal symptoms, encouragement to push forward, and processing fears that may arise from being off medications for the first time in years.
Now, please do not mistake me for a protester against pharmaceuticals — I witness the positive impact that medications can have on enhancing the quality of life of my patients on a daily basis. However, I do not attribute the improvements primarily to medications. My treatment plans generally promote the development of insight and self-awareness of mood patterns, anxiety triggers, etc, and oftentimes explore how past suppressed emotions may contribute to current symptoms, all of which are topics I aim to emphasize in my blog. Medications may stop working or provide temporary relief, but knowledge of one’s self can last a lifetime.
Photos by Marlon Santos