General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Do you think you'll be taking your meds forever?

Asked by wundayatta (58321 points ) January 11th, 2011

Do you think you’re going to be taking them for the rest of you life, or do you want to wean yourself off some day? If you want to get off them, how will you decide when you will be able to get off and stay off? Will anyone else play a role in making this decision?

This is only for folks with mental illnesses, so I don’t need to hear you aren’t taking any meds. I also don’t want any “advice” about whether it is good or bad to take meds for mental illnesses.

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23 Answers

GracieT's avatar

I would love to be off of all of them, but my doctors have told me that I will probably will take them for the rest of my life. The one that I would love to lose the most is my seizure medicine, but I don’t want to tempt fate.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, I think I’ll be on medication for the rest of my life, and I’m grateful for it. I’m stable on medication, and without it, I’m a basket case to say the least. Life really isn’t worth living without the medication.

There are side effects to the medication, but that’s nothing compared to what I’m like without it. When I’m honest with my therapist and psychiatrist, I can get the best treatment available for me. I can avoid the worst of the side effects.

wundayatta's avatar

I tried getting off of lithium once, but I had a small manic episode after that—then followed by a bit of a depression. So back on lithium. My wife was adamant about that. Now I’ve been pretty stable for three quarters of a year almost. I’ve even tested my stability and was able to maintain it through a pretty severe test.

I’ve come to understand who I am and who I want to be. I’m actually not sure what I mean by that. Maybe it’s who I am on drugs, and how I want to continue to be. But also that I know what it is that attracts me and leads me away from stability—i.e., my trigger. So if I have the strength to stay away from that, I think I can stay stable.

Another trigger, my need for fluther, is also diminishing. I no longer feel anxious when I’m away.

So I’m wondering if I’m stable enough to stop the meds. I think I have the mental tools I need to remain stable. I have enough experience with this illness to recognize what is going on and to take proper measures.

But I’m afraid to mess with it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The side effects are not too bad (hand shaking, especially when stressed). I’m mulling, I guess.

bunnygrl's avatar

I don’t know honey. I’ve taken anti depressants for many years now, and I know I couldn’t cope entirely on my own. Maybe some day. I hope so. A friend at work said I should be the poster child for Mind because I’m usually the first to cut the nose off anyone making stupid jokes at work. I’m not ashamed of my depression honey, nor am I ashamed that I need my little pills to make my life a little easier, and why should I be? Here is what I think, everyone medicates, some eat chocolate, some drink alcohol, some do sports, everyone has a way to cope when life gets tough, and no one has any right to make anyone else feel bad about whatever their way of coping is. An ex-friend (and her partner in crime, another ex-friend) used to call me a “psycho junkie” because I needed anti depressants (and the pain meds I take for rhuematoid arthritis), but that same ex-friend used to drink wine by the bottle not the glass. Even when I pointed that out to her she failed to see the irony. If I have to take them till I’m gone, well there are worse things, I remember how I was before. Like you said, if it ain’t broke….
hugs honey xx

majorrich's avatar

I am taking Effexor, so I guess I am stuck for life. If I miss even one dose the resulting withdrawl is pretty excruciating. From my reading it’s nigh unto impossible to get off of. Sure I would love to be drug free,but I dont see it happening.

Supacase's avatar

I imagine I probably will be. I hope to be able to cut down in time, which may be possible since I am told my disorder tends to lessen with age.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I’ve just started taking Wellbutrin. It’s what my doc suggested I try to help me stop smoking, before taking Chantix. But I don’t know… maybe the Wellbutrin will help me be less bitchy? If so, I may be on it for quite some time.

glenjamin's avatar

I should be off mine in about 6 months, been taking them over a year. Had some issues with mood stability but things have calmed down and I don’t think I need them anymore. Of course I will be taking them as long as my shrink says so.

tranquilsea's avatar

I was on sleeping pills for 10 years. Temazepam to be exact. And I was on an insane dose: 90mg. The 30 or 60mgs never worked for me. I didn’t think I would ever be able to get off them. But, about 18 months ago, I felt like I could try to sleep without them. I spent the next two weeks working myself down from the 90mgs. After a week of rebound dreaming and mild sleeplessness I started to sleep on my own.

I have PTSD. My biggest problem was how many nightmares I would have at night. Thankfully, they have receded.

Anti-depressants never worked for me. I was on Paxil years ago and it has to be the worst medication to wean yourself off of. I felt like I was being struck by lightning every 5 seconds for days.

Any time I came off a medication it was always initiated by me and I was assisted by my psychiatrist.

BoBo1946's avatar

At age 64, would think so my friend. Besides, anything that will give a person a better quality of life, is a good thing.

Kayak8's avatar

I take meds for nerve damage in my foot and ankle and I expect that I will be taking them forever. There are no major side effects (for me anyway—it knocks some people out but gives me a nice sense of euphoria, so I’m not complaining)!

snowberry's avatar

My “meds” are vitamins, and I intend to take them until I die.

Moegitto's avatar

Being a diabetic, yes

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t know and that scares me.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I decided myself to half the dose but not yet ready to taper off completely. I certainly don’t want to, but I’ll see.

dubsrayboo's avatar

I was in the psych ward in August. They changed my anti-psychotic which was a blessing because I was gaining weight so much with my other one.

I tried going off my meds once and that was a mess. I lasted 3 months then had to start taking work off because I was so manic. I’m on mine for life. I like being stable. But I have to remember that it’s the meds that make me stable and that I can’t go off them just because I feel better. I don’t like it, but there you go.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I HATE taking meds, but I have to take them for both cancer and diabetes: an insulin injection and two pills in the morning, two pills at night, an implant in my side every three months, and radiation treatments if the pills and the implant are unable to control the cancer. If I don’t take all that, the doctors say the cancer will advance more quickly, and the diabetes will damage my kidneys or my eyes or my legs, etc.

So, yes, I will be on most of those for the rest of my life, unless they come up with a better way to treat what I have, or I am the recipient of a miracle of some sort. ( I saw the “mental illness” designation after I wrote all that. Please don’t kill me! ) : D

rockstargrrrlie's avatar

I thought I was going to be, but I did eventually wean myself off them after seven years. That was three years ago and I did really well for about a year or so afterwards. I’m sure at some point in my life I’ll have to go back on them.

wundayatta's avatar

@CaptainHarley It’s cool. I suppose it’s possible that physical health issues could go into remission and let you stop. Perhaps if you lost weight or changed your diet or something (you in general, not you, specific). I don’t know—can you get off diabetes drugs if you change your diet enough?

The difference between mental and physical problems is that it is possible to handle mental problems using mental techniques. People do manage their mental illnesses using only these techniques instead of drugs. I like to think of drugs for mental illnesses as providing a respite until you stabilize. But then, it seems to me, you can wean off because you are not in crisis and you can cope on your own.

I don’t want to be on meds forever. Right now I feel like I could handle it on my own. But @dubsrayboo‘s caution is well-taken. Many of us do think we’re ok because we feel ok on drugs. So we stop, and then we’re not ok any more. Then others stop, and are still ok. It’s hard to know who is who.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@wundayatta

My Primary Care Physician has high hopes of taking me off all diabetes meds through exercise and diet control. I hope he’s right.

The cancer is another matter entirely. Since it’s incurable with current medical technology, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever come off of them. Still, it’s a nice dream. : ))

These days, I’m more concerned with controlling my blood pressure than anything else. I don’t want it going over normal limits… ever… because of the anurysim in my head. All it would take to send me to kingdom-come is one tiny break. Fortunately, the chances of that happening in any given year are about 1–3%

jurassicnemesis's avatar

If you need your meds, you take your meds. If you need it for life, you take it for life: that easy. If you don’t do it you’ll get ill and/or die.

wundayatta's avatar

@jurassicnemesis It’s not as easy as that. Because with mental illness, it can be unclear as to whether you need the meds or not. The only way to know for sure is to try, but if you try and you are wrong, it can become a big problem.

glenjamin's avatar

I might have to stay on mine longer than I thought. Everything was ok and then a relapse creeped up on me. I am hoping I don’t have to take them for too long though because I heard there could be side effects. Then again, [some of] the side effects, though undesireable pale in comparison to the symptoms the medicine is treating.

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