The Downsides of Taking Medication for Mental Health

Mental health
Up to 60 percent of patients with mental health issues don’t take their antidepressant medications regularly.

Increased mental health awareness means that it’s easier than ever for people to access treatment, and that has to be a good thing. More people are recognizing that they have a problem with their mental health and seeking the advice of their doctor.

Often, doctors will prescribe medication to help people manage things like anxiety and depression and the results can be very effective. There are a lot of positives to taking mental health medication and it does help a lot of people to deal with their issues, but there are some negatives.

A lot of people don’t like to take medication and would rather find natural alternatives instead and that is often the best choice. If you are unsure about taking medication, these are some of the negatives that you need to be aware of.

Mental health
There are several drugs to treat mental illnesses from antidepressants to anti-psychotics and stimulant medications. But not everyone can tolerate their side effects.

Reliance On Medication 

This is the biggest worry that people have about mental health medication and it can be a big problem.

Mental health medication should be a stepping stone that helps you to manage the symptoms while you seek other treatments, like talking therapies, to deal with the root cause of the mental health problem.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way and people simply take the medication and don’t deal with the underlying problems, and that’s when they become reliant on them.

If you are taking medication to manage the symptoms but you aren’t making any other changes, what happens if you stop?

Usually, your symptoms will come back and they may even be a lot worse than they were before. If you suffer from anxiety, for example, it’s important that you find ways to manage the negative thoughts that you have and remain more present, rather than constantly worrying about the past and the future.

Medication will help to address the chemical issues in your brain that lead to the symptoms. However, it will not help you to change your thought patterns, which is key to long term positive mental health. 

It’s so important that you don’t see medication as an easy fix for mental health problems because there are no shortcuts. They should be part of a wider treatment program that includes talking therapies and lifestyle changes which will help you to manage your mental health issues long term. 

Physical Side Effects 

The physical side effects of medication can be quite drastic and it’s important that you factor that into your decision.

Some people experience a lack of energy, lowering of libido, nausea, headaches, and dizziness when they take medication for anxiety or depression.

If you end up taking this medication long term, you will have to live with those side effects and so your quality of life could be negatively affected. If you experience a lot of side effects, it may be better to find more natural ways to treat your anxiety or depression.

Things like meditation or regular exercise are both good ways to relieve stress and combat the symptoms of anxiety and depression, much like medication would, but you don’t have to deal with the side effects. If you are on medication and you are experiencing a lot of side effects, you should speak with your doctor and they will offer alternatives.

If you find that all of the medication that you try has a lot of side effects, it may be better to find natural ways to deal with your symptoms. 


Mental health issues can be very difficult to diagnose because they affect everybody in a different way.

If you are going through a particularly stressful period in your life and you are feeling very down, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a long term mental health condition that requires medication.

In some cases, people may be suffering from more than one mental health issue that requires treatment, and different doctors will have a different view on what the best treatment is.

There is no simple answer when it comes to mental health and that means misdiagnosis is a distinct possibility. If you are misdiagnosed, that may mean that you are taking medication that makes things worse, not better, for you. If you are getting a different diagnosis from different doctors, it can be difficult to know which treatment is right for you. 

So, does that mean you should never take medication for mental health problems?

No, it doesn’t, but you do need to use it in the right way. You shouldn’t see it as a quick fix, it should be a stepping stone to help you move towards other treatments. You also need to make sure that you get a second opinion from your doctor and find a medication that works for you.


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