So you’ve decided that you’re tired of feeling stuck, overwhelmed and confused. While support from friends, families and your faith communities has been invaluable, you’ve discovered that it’s just not enough. You meet with a provider and they begin to suggest taking medications. What should you do?
This is the first of a 3 part blog series on taking medications. My hope is to cover these 3 topics as you make a decision.
- Consider what treatment approach your provider is coming from.
- Consider experts perspectives on the results/effects that medication can have on one’s healing.
- Consider how your personal beliefs impact your openness and readiness to take medication.
Treatment Plans for Medication
Medical Model Approach
There are many perspectives within the health profession that inform a providers recommendations for medications. If you are meeting with a physician, they may operate from a “medical model” approach. Coined by R.D. Laing, in The Politics of the Family and Other Essays, a medical model is a “set of procedures in which all doctors are trained.” This model takes into account how the makeup of your physical body can influence your emotions. As a result, medication is often prescribed to address your physical vulnerabilities and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Recovery Based Approach
For providers who take a “recovery based” approach to treatment, they also look at your biological makeup AND other areas of your life that can cause distress. In the article, Leadership coaching transforming mental health systems from the inside out: The Collaborative Recovery Model as person-centred strengths based coaching psychology by Lindsay G. Oades, Trevor P. Crowe & Melanie Nguyen, “the term ‘recovery’ refers to the personal and transformational process of patients living with mental illness, moving towards a preferred identity and a life of meaning – a framework where growth is possible, and the fixed mindsets around diagnoses …are challenged.” Within this model, providers treatment may (and often does) include medication and also explores how other areas of your life (traumatic experiences, one’s environment, spirituality) impact your sense of wholeness. The recovery based approach takes a holistic approach that empowers you to make informed decisions about taking medication.
In my experience in community mental health and now in private practice, I’ve had the privilege to work with a variety of individuals who have different degrees of distress and feelings of being overwhelmed. This could be due to a number of factors. Because of what you are born with or what you experienced earlier in life, your biology can be impacted. In other words, on a biological level, some people will experience more times of being overwhelmed than others. How can you and your providers tell if what you are experiencing is biological?
- Look back at your personal history. Consider the first time that you recall feeling overwhelmed. How old were you? Do you remember what was happening? How did you feel?
- Consider your families history. It is possible that if a family member struggled with feelings of overwhelmed, you may also be impacted on a biological level.
- Did anything happen to you as a child? Younger in life we are developing on a physical level. Did you have any injuries at a young age? Do you remember feeling safe and secure? Were you ever hurt spiritually, emotionally? Were you exposed to poverty, unsafe environments, substances, or trauma?
- Do these feelings of being overwhelmed impact your ability to take care of the things that you are responsible for? For instance, if you are a student, have you found that your grades are slipping and you are unable to make it to class?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I would encourage you to reach out to see if medication may be a part of your treatment. Our hope at Optimum Joy, is that through support of a counselor and possibly medication you will see results in your daily activities. If you’d like to learn more about this, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to discuss this further with you and I would also recommend speaking to your Primary Care Physician.
Written by therapist Pamela Larkin
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