Working On Us Prompt: Psychiatric Medication

I’ve been thinking of doing some posts on the medications I’ve been prescribed so far, but didn’t get down to it till now. Today, Beckie’s topic for Working On Us is psychiatric medication. Beckie asks a few interesting questions I didn’t think of.

First, she asks whether, when you were first diagnosed with a mental illness/disorder, it took you a while to get used to the medication prescribed. Well, my first diagnosis from a psychiatrist was autism, for which there are no specific medications. It took four months after that diagnosis before I first got put on a daily psychiatric medication. That was Risperdal (risperidone). I didn’t like it at all, even though it took only a few days to kick in.

I remained on Risperdal for 2 1/2 months, and then took myself off. I felt that the medication was merely used to keep me just contained enough that I didn’t qualify for more care. Well, it is my firm belief that medication is not a substitute for proper care.

Going off Risperdal was a mixed bag. I felt okay the first few weeks, but three weeks after having stopped taking the medication altogether, I spiraled into crisis.

After taking myself off of the Risperdal, I was without daily medication for nearly 2 1/2 years. I was in a psych hospital, so I can tell you right away that the crisis service nurse was wrong to say hospitalization would mean being put straight back on meds. Apparently my psychiatrist agreed medication is no substitute for proper care. That was until, despite mostly adequate care, my irritability got so bad I just needed something. I was put on Abilify (aripiprazole) and remain on that ever since.

Beckie also asks about withdrawal. I have been on the same antipsychotic and antidepressant ever since 2010 and never lowered my dosage yet. However, I did for a while take Ativan (lorazepam) at a relatively high daily dosage. Then when I wanted to quit, my psychiatrist said he’d prescribe it as a PRN med. Well, I didn’t need it for the first few days, so I didn’t take it. That was until I started experiencing tremors a few days into withdrawal. I am lucky I got only those and didn’t get seizures or the like. Thankfully, I got put back on lorazepam and tapered safely.

Beckie’s last question is whether you work closely with your doctor in managing your meds. Well, I just had a meeting with the intellectual disability physician for my facility last Monday. She is making sure I get my medications and will also order yearly bloodwork to check for metabolic issues etc. I haven’t seen a psychiatrist with my new mental health team yet, but will soon enough. I want to eventually try to lower my Abilify dose. The intellectual disability physician advised me to wait at least six months to get used to living here though.

5 thoughts on “Working On Us Prompt: Psychiatric Medication

  1. Hello, Astrid… thank you for participating in Week #23 of “Working on Us” – Finally understand your point of the reblog issue. I have to keep a separate list on each blogger and then copy the link. Got it.
    Withdrawals and reactions to certain medications seem to be the #1 scare to most of us. Taking ourselves off by ourselves is very dangerous.
    I was on Lorazepam for nearly 3 years, when the doc realized this wasn’t working for me, I was switched to Lamictal. This is the one she just increased beside the Seroquel increase just for a little while until my sleep gets back to normal.
    It’s good that you have blood work done to keep track of what the meds are doing to your system. At the beginning of Jan 2020, I’m getting a whole series of blood work done on me.
    Again, thank you for participating this week, and hopefully, I’ve got this reblog straightened out. Sorry for the confusion earlier. 💚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I guess so too. Then again, I would really like to try to taper myself off of the Abilify or decrease the dose at least. After all, off-label use of antipsychotics has risks too.

      Like

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