Tuesday, September 19, 2006
What a Difference a Pill Makes
I understand that there are people out there who are all about the meds. Not just any med, mind you - penicillin just doesn't give that kick - but the fun ones. Ones that cause dizziness or buzziness or just plain old fogginess. And why not? They make you feel better without hardly any effort at all, assuming swallowing isn't a huge chore for you.

There are also plenty of people on the clincian side who have a had time with people who are in it for the meds. "Drug Seekers," they're labelled, though I can't find a font which adequately represents the sarcasm dripping from each syllable. And, sure, it's frustrating when people just want a chemical fix when you know it will just be a short-term Band-Aid until the high wears off.

But you know what? Sometimes it's both. Sometimes there's work to be done on someone's internal whatevers, that fun mental stuff that we all enjoy so much. But sometimes - dare I say often - there's also an underlying chemical imbalance and the drugs do what they're intended to do, which is keep someone from peering too deeply into the abyss.

And when I see a woman who is actively suicidal and pacing and twitching and begging for Ativan, and an hour later I see the same woman, still suicidal and miserable but now able to sit down and complete a sentence, then I think maybe this wasn't just another irritating Drug Seeker. Maybe this is someone doing the best she can with what she has, even what what she has is a pile of anxiety big enough to ski down.

So, I guess if there's a split between drug providers and drug withholders in the world of mental health, I'm sympathetic to the providers. But I can't prescribe those fun drugs... sorry.