To Medicate or Not To Medicate?

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There’s a bit of debate at the moment that we are too quick to prescribe medications for mental health issues rather than facing our problems or consider lifestyle choices that could alter the outcomes. Mental health is a complex issue and no individuals experience or circumstances are exactly the same as another, however alarming increases in rates in mental illness suggests a serious imbalance in modern lifestyles.

In some people mental illness and disorders can be a result of biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and in some cases depression. In these circumstances medications can assist to reduce symptoms and restore chemical imbalances to enable the person to function better and increase mental health and happiness.

In many cases mental illness can be a result of life experiences such as trauma or abuse, or accumulative lifestyle factors. In these cases medication should be the last resort not the first. Because whilst medications may treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression they do not address the underlying issue and therefore do not enable you to move forward. Medications also have a range of side-effects which each patient may experience differently. In some cases these side-effects can have an adverse effect and actually worsen the problem.

It is important to release that anxiety and periods of sadness or depression can be entirely natural. In times of extreme duress at work, study or home life, and in times of grief, heartbreak, loneliness or dissatisfaction we are likely to experience emotions of unhappiness and tension. These feelings are indicators, like physical pain informs us that we have been injured, emotional pain and stress informs us that something is also wrong and needs time to heal or requires change to promote healing. Self-diagnoses and the availability of prescriptions can be damaging to your mental and physical health in the long term.

In our modern lifestyles we are often overworked, spend insufficient time on enjoyment and relaxation and deprive ourselves of important factors that aid mental wellness. Diet and exercise are the most significant factors which impact our overall health. Feelings of sluggishness, ill health, poor movement quality and Vitamin D deficiency are consequences of sedentary indoor lifestyles. Exercise and good diet actually impact and release hormones that make your happier! As well as allowing your body and mind to work more efficiently. In addition our technology-addicted lifestyles often deprives us of the social interactions and skills we need to promote happiness and more often lead to negative ideas of self and others rather than enjoyment.

That’s not to say the medical industry is the enemy; they save billions of lives every year and have enabled many people with mental illness and disorders to regain control of their lives. However, we should avoid becoming too reliant on quick fixes which do not require self-reflection and motivation. Medication is a choice that can be made after seeking appropriate help and advice from your doctor and first considering whether or not you can improve your circumstances manually and through self-healing. Always read the provided information on side effects and contact your doctor immediately if you are experiences severe adverse effects. Remember that when experiencing periods of unhappiness and severe stress the first step should always be to reflect on the circumstances that surround you and what you can do to change them.

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The Mind Centre was a counselling and meditation centre for several years before morphing into an information centre for people seeking to know more about mind and body health.

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