Common Crazy Med Crap Index | Tips on How to Take Psychiatric/Neurological Drugs

1.  Should You Be Taking Meds in the First Place?

There’s a huge paradox regarding neurological & psychiatric medications in the US and many other countries. Many people who need to take drugs can’t or won’t because the stigma - either cultural, or due to pressures and expectations of their families - is too great, and/or they don’t have the money.1 Yet there are also people who are needlessly taking meds thanks to Big Pharma’s2 marketing campaigns, especially to doctors, along with their disease mongering.3

And there’s always one study after another showing how antidepressants, or other crazy meds, only work for those of us with severe depression, or other brain cooties. This is not helped by the use of certain assessment tools that are so likely to guarantee a drug’s success in a clinical trial they can also make the placebo look far more effective than it actually is4.

2.  Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been Crazy?

There are a plethora of self-diagnosis tests available online5. Psych Central has more than you should ever need. On official sites for medications you’ll often find ten-question, multiple guess tests that are almost guaranteed to diagnose you as having whatever the med treats, and it’s recommended that you take a printout of that test to your doctor to, as the ads say, “Talk to your doctor about Fixitol (panacea HCl)…” So the assumption is there’s something wrong with you.

But is there really?

There are perfectly normal behaviors that family & friends might consider indicators of mental illness. On the flip side there are also symptoms and behaviors that scream, “SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!!!. Whether or not you require meds is still yet to be determined.

3.  The “Am I That Messed-Up?” Checklist

Whether or not you and your doctor need to consider medication, or an equivalent treatment like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as the first treatment option can be determined by a fairly simple test:

3.1  Have you been diagnosed with epilepsy?

  • You need to take medication, or require other treatments that a neurologist deals with. Test over.
  • If you haven’t been diagnosed, but have had one or more seizures, you need to see a doctor. Test over.
  • If you’re not sure you’ve had a seizure This page has videos made by the International League Against Epilepsy with explanations of different types of seizures.
    • If you’re positive you did not have a seizure, you don’t need to see a doctor. Unless you have decent health insurance. Then go see your regular doctor and let them decide. Test over.
    • If you’re anywhere from unsure to certain you did have one or more seizures, you need to see a doctor. Test over.

3.2  Have you been diagnosed with, or experience migraines or other severe headaches?

  • If you haven’t seen a doctor yet, make an appointment already. Test over.
  • Either way, migraines and other headaches can be treated with all sorts of non-drug interventions:
    • From avoiding certain foods to a complete dietary overhaul
    • Various lifestyle changes
    • Even acupuncture
  • And some godawful headaches don’t respond to any medication on the market for most people, so you’re stuck with oxygen and something to knock you out.
  • So maybe you do need to take medication and maybe you don’t. Not everything can be figured out with a stupid little test like this.
    • See a doctor already! What are you waiting for?

3.3  Are you experiencing moderate-to-severe physical pain that…

  • Makes it difficult to function on a daily basis?
  • Is the symptom of what is generally considered a psychological problem, such as depression?
  • Has no obvious source, such as waking up with the symptoms of a really bad hangover and muscle aches when you didn’t have any recreational drugs and/or physically challenging before you went to sleep.
  • Have you seen a neurologist yet?
    • If not, why not?
    • No, don’t answer that. See one if you can.
    • In all likelihood you’ll need meds.
    • While pain is often a symptom of depression, depression can also be a symptom of pain-related neurological conditions.
  • Test over.

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3.4  Have you been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder?

  • You need medication. Test over.
    • Have you been taking medication and your symptoms are gone / aren’t as bad as they used to be?
      • That’s because the meds are working!
      • If you still have symptoms, talk with your doctor about adjusting dosages, changing your meds, etc. This site is for you.
      • If your symptoms are gone, talk with your doctor about lowering your dosages, changing your meds, etc. This site is still for you.
      • Yes, remission is possible. If your symptoms have been completely gone for as many years as your doctor(s) think is long enough, talk with them about reducing your meds with the goal of not taking any. While it is possible to no longer need medication, be prepared to be disappointed. And always keep some on hand for emergencies.
  • Getting a second opinion from another doctor is an excellent idea. A third opinion isn’t a bad idea.
    • If both or all three say you have one or more of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder then you have at least one of those and you need to take medication for it. Test over.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, and it didn’t say so already, you need to see a doctor and the two of you will determine if you need meds or something similar. Test over.

If you answered no to all of the above, we have a couple, non-mutually exclusive ways to go. The first is a brief, all-encompassing test put together by a professional. The drug companies have started to use it in their clinical trials. I highly recommend it. The Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS) measures how functional you are, regardless of what your condition is, in five easy questions. If you find the questions to be a bit vague, then try my functionality quiz …

3.5  Are you able to function on your own every day? Can you:

  • get out of bed
  • get dressed
  • go to work (if you have a job) and/or school (if you go to school)
    • and accomplish something beyond showing up and pretending to get some work done
  • feed the kids and/or other pets
  • do the laundry
  • make dinner
    • a bowl of cereal should not be considered dinner6
  • interact with other people
    • who exist in the real world and not on teh interwebs
  • go shopping for groceries and other essentials
    • online shopping counts
  • otherwise leave your room/apartment/house whenever you want or need to
    • and do so without taking two hours making sure the door is locked
    • or without the help of alcohol or some other substance you’ve obtained without a prescription
  • not max out your credit cards buying the materials for yet another life-changing project you’ll never finish
  • fall asleep without lying awake for hours being afraid of everything that can go wrong
    • or ruminating over everything that did go wrong in your life
    • and blaming yourself for things you had absolutely no control over
    • and reliving them
    • in vivid detail
    • over and over and over

That list can go on forever, but you should get the idea.
It doesn’t matter how many of those you answered yes to, especially since not every situation can be covered. If your life is a struggle or otherwise out of control, and you can’t make it through the day without somebody else to take care of the essentials most people can do themselves, and/or you just let it all pile up and not give a shit, then you need medication and/or serious talk therapy. What you really need to do is get off the fucking Internet and make an appointment to see someone who is qualified to determine if you need one (or more), which one(s) you need, and prescribe them. At the very least see someone qualified to tell you if you need to see a prescribing doctor or someone with good credentials you can see at least once a week. Test over.

The good news is: for depression- and anxiety-spectrum disorders medication is usually temporary7.

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If you can make it through your life on a half-assed basis without being a danger to yourself or others and just want it to be easier, there’s just one more set of questions:

3.6  Do you have physical symptoms?

  • If and when you feel panicked/anxious, does your heart race? Do you breathe rapidly? Do you sweat?
  • If and when you’re depressed, do you feel cold to the touch? Do you feel pain for no reason? Do you actually need to sleep 11–14 (or more) hours a day?
  • If and when you’re super-irritable, or on that shopping spree, or otherwise a little too energetic, do you feel warmer than usual to the touch? Not quite, but almost feverish? Do you move more quickly than you normally do? Are your senses heightened?

If you answered yes to any of the questions that applied to you, or, if you think about it, you have noticeable physical symptoms along with whatever is going on in your head, then you need to see a doctor. You may or may not need meds now, but if you’re manifesting physical symptoms it’s bad enough for you to need some sort of regular treatment, like a therapist. Test over.

Otherwise, you probably don’t need meds. A self-help book or two and/or a therapist of some kind, and maybe a few lifestyle changes are all you need. Thanks for stopping by Crazymeds.

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Common Crazy Med Crap Index | Tips on How to Take Psychiatric/Neurological Drugs

1 It's especially ironic if you have a form of bipolar disorder with euphoric mania. Then you get to be ridiculed for taking expensive medications in order to not feel as if you've done a bunch of meth or cocaine, which are often cheaper than mood stabilizers. While people who are in rehab to recover from, and learn how to stop snorting cocaine and meth are lauded as being heroic for overcoming their addictions. Usually by the same people who give us the most shit for taking meds to not feel the same way and not do the same destructive things the addicts do when they're high. Don't you just love it? We pay through the nose for drugs to NOT get high, and we are the assholes.

2 The nickname given to the pharmaceutical industry, especially the largest companies like Eli Lilly (or Lilly) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The name comes from the industry's lobbying group: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhaRMA).

3 Where they make up an illness where one didn't previously exist, such as Cephalon's invention of Shift Work Sleep Disorder as a way to market Provigil and Nuvigil as expensive prescription substitutes for coffee.

4 I'm looking at you, MÅDRS.

5 I've yet to find an online test for cyberchondria. Although taking numerous online tests for unrelated medical conditions is probably the only diagnostic criterion needed.

6 Although there are plenty of times when I'd consider it a triumph over immense adversity to put together a dinner as complex and nutritious as a bowl of cereal. Even without raisins.

7 At least the use of medication in the treatment of anxiety- and depression-spectrum disorders is supposed to be temporary.

Should You Be Taking Psychiatric or Neurological Medications? by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2014 Jerod Poore

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 April, 2016 at 22:25:28 by JerodPoorePage Author: Jerod PooreDate created: 19 March 2014

All drug names are the trademarks of someone else. Look on the appropriate PI sheets or ask Google who the owners are. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of any trademarks may have changed without my noticing.

Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2003 - 2016. All rights reserved. See the full copyright notice for full copyright details.
Don’t automatically believe everything you read on teh Intergoogles. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. For more details see the Crazymeds big-ass disclaimer.

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