Why Do People Refuse to Try Psychiatric Medication?

Why Do People Refuse to Try Psychiatric Medication?

I take psychiatric medications daily and what I want to know is, why do people refuse to try psychiatric medication for serious mental illnesses? Why do people think they don’t need it? Why do people think they should ignore their highly-trained doctor’s advice? Why do people feel that taking psychiatric medication makes them less of a person? Why is it okay to take heart medication but not psychiatric medication? Why do people think that psychiatric medication doesn’t work? Why do people think that I know of some secret alternative? Why do people refuse to even try psychiatric medication?

People Refusing to Try Psychiatric Medication

I can’t tell you the number of people who contact me and say something along the lines of, “I have [insert mental illness here]. It’s ruining my life but I don’t want to take medication. What should I do?”

Well, honestly, I’m sick of this attitude. It’s like people saying, “I have a heart problem but I don’t want to take medication to stay alive. What should I do?”

You should take your freaking medication.

Here’s a tip people: I am not a magician. I do not have more overall medical knowledge than your psychiatrist. If a medical professional who has studied medicine for 10 years or more decides that you need medication – you probably need medication. I’m not about to disagree with that.

What about Alternatives to Psychiatric Medication?

I take psychiatric medication for bipolar, but many people refuse psychiatric medication. Why is this? Why do people refuse to try psychiatric medication?I have written about alternatives to psychiatric medication on this blog. They, by and large, do not work to stabilize a person in a crisis and should be used (in my opinion) alongside medication treatment for most people and with a doctor’s approval only. Once a person has been stable for a long period of time, they then have the option of, possibly, under a doctor’s care, tapering medication if, indeed, that is truly what he or she wants. Usually, I can tell you from talking to hundreds of people, this doesn’t work and people end up back in the hospital, but, then again, sometimes it does.

Nevertheless, none of that is why people refuse to even try psychiatric medication.

If You Had Another Medical Problem, You Would Take Your Medication!

What ticks me off to no end is that this is the attitude people have towards psychiatric medication and not the attitude they have towards other types of medication. People take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and a million other things without batting an eyelash, and yet, when it comes to their brain, they’re all, no, no, we can’t do that. Heaven forbid I try something that might make me better. This is illogical.

And don’t tell me it’s the side effect profiles. Yes, the side effect profiles suck, no doubt about it, but side effects on any medication are bloody scary. Some medications actually list death as a side effect and as of yet, I’ve never seen that listed for a psychiatric medication.

And, for the millionth time, you may get a side effect or you may not but the only way to know is to try. Getting scared off because you read a bunch of stuff on the Internet is not a particularly rational reason not to even try most psychiatric medications.

Don’t Tell Me You Won’t Try Psychiatric Medication and Want My Advice

So, please, don’t write to me and tell me that you have a serious mental illness and refuse to try psychiatric medications and want my advice. My advice will always be the same: work it out with your doctor. If I knew of a shaman or reiki master or herb you could take to make your problems go away I would have written about it already, trust me, but I don’t. I only know what medicine tells me and that’s exactly what your psychiatrist knows, too, only they have a leg up on me in that they know your personal history and can give more informed advice as to what will work best for you.

So, please, if you’re refusing psychiatric medication that’s your business, but don’t write me and look for alternatives. I will side with your doctor. I’m crazy that way.

Header photo by Curtis Perry.


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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