Psychiatric Medications Don’t Work – a Fact?

Psychiatric Medications Don’t Work – a Fact?

Again, a commenter last night popped onto the blog to tell me how psychiatric medications “do more harm than good” and how “I [the commenter] know for a fact that these meds no not work.


I’m not sure how so many people confuse “fact” with “opinion.” It is the opinion of some people that psychiatric medications don’t work. It is the opinion of some people that psychiatric medications do more harm than good.

I am not of that opinion. And I actually have facts on my side.

Psychiatric Medications Work

I won’t rehash study after study or talk about how the effectiveness of medications is measured or mention that psychiatric medications fall right into the normative values of effectiveness for internal medicine medications. (If you want to know more, read: Efficacy of Psych Drugs: Do Antidepressants Work?)

No, I won’t bother.

I also won’t bother tell you about how depressed people who take antidepressants do better overall or how antidepressants have actually been shown to reverse the damage that depression causes in the brain.

No, I won’t go into that either. What I will simply say is that there have been countless studies, articles and meta-analyses on the effectiveness of psychiatric medication. We know that psychiatric medication may not be the best choice in some populations (like those with minor depression) but this is a far cry from evidence suggesting medication doesn’t work.

Opinions on Psychiatric MedicationWhat Makes My Bipolar Better?

I spend lots of time writing about non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder and assorted issues. I talk about how to manage sleep and therapy treatments and alternative treatments and neurostimulation treatments. I do this because people want to know about these things and because some of these things are viable and do have research behind them.

But I can tell you, without a doubt, that in the 14 years I have been battling bipolar disorder, only one thing has improved my condition: medication. Not every medication (far from it), not every medication cocktail (again, not even close) but medication has been the only thing capable of turning me around. Period.

So Psychiatric Medications Always Work?

No, of course I’m not saying that. I’m not saying that psychiatric medications work in all situations or even that psychiatric medications are always the right choice. There are many factors to consider before making a choice like that and everyone is different.

All I’m saying is that all these people that say that “psychiatric medications don’t work” are wrong. In fact, I would go so far as to say that 99% of people for whom medication is an appropriate choice can be helped with medication of some sort. It can take a long time to find that medication. It can take years. But it’s out there.

Now, one could say this is only my opinion, and it is, but my opinion is actually based on scientific facts rather than, well, whatever it is that other people base their opinion on.

So the next time someone tells you that “psychiatric medications don’t work” I recommend that you remind them that their statement is just an opinion and a highly suspect and unsupported one at that.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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