Medication – A blessing or a curse?

Well a few months down the line from my recent acute episode, I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train. However, back on the road to normality, yesterday brought into question whether I am entitled to more than recovery.

You see, despite generally functioning reasonably well (recent circumstances excluded), I’ve always struggled with a relatively low mood. I just thought that was my lot and that I’d got it as good as I was going to get it. After all, I manage much better than most. However, during my recent episode, as outlined in my earlier posts, my psychiatrist prescribed me an antipsychotic to help me break the cycle of anxiety and hypomania that I found myself in. Yes, it switched off the receptors in my brain that made me feel full, I ate like a horse and gained weight but, I felt great, better than I did pre-episode. In talking to a few people who had been in a similar situation and my GP, I learned that there was another antipsychotic than didn’t have as big an impact on the appetite. So, at my appointment yesterday, I raised the possibility of switching to the alternative as it had clearly improved my baseline mood but, as a diabetic, the weight gain was an issue.

Simple eh? Apparently not. Now I’m feeling ‘better’, my psychiatrist wants to take me off the antipsychotic to see if I still need it. Now it’s important to state that atypical antipsychotics are not just used for psychosis, and that they can also be used for depression. It’s also important to note that polypharmacy (the use of multiple drugs) isn’t usually encouraged but, if a drug elevates my mood to a ‘normal’ level, has minimal side effects and adds just one more tablet to the cocktail I’m already on, shouldn’t I be allowed to take it? Using the usual analogy, would a doctor, on seeing that a diabetics’ blood sugars have normalised, take them off the medication that’s doing the job?

Should I have to return to a life that is less than I know it could be? Can I have more than I had before or should I just accept that at least I have some quality of life? I would welcome your views.