Hearing the word psychotropic sounds like a total drug trip, something I haven’t experienced but can only assume about. A psychotropic drug is “any drug capable of affecting the mind, emotions and behavior. Some legal drugs such as lithium for depression are psychotropic. Many illicit drugs like cocaine are also psychotropic,” according to medterms.com. Wow, “some legal drugs …for depression are psychotropic.”
My mother took Zoloft for many years. It eventually stopped doing what it was supposed to do for her, which was to help her with depression. So the doctor had her try other antidepressants. Three years ago, she completely fell off the wagon, in turn destroying my family. My impression of these medications is definitely a complex one.
Searching on the Internet to find a list of these types of medications, I honestly didn’t think I was going to find a lot. I thought I would see a few I hadn’t heard of and a few big named antidepressants. I came across quite a big list on the National Alliance on Metal Illness’s website, nami.org.
Paxil, Prozax, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Xanax and Valium are common psychotropic drugs used to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive disorders.
I have tried Paxil and Lexapro several times in my young life. Those times I was taking it I felt relaxed and at ease with everything. I was more careless and irresponsible, too. I wouldn’t say that it actually took my depression away, maybe just subsided it a little. I guess when you are having suicidal thoughts that could be a good thing, in a sense. I think it’s important though for any person taking these types of medications or planning to take them to learn about what they really do to you.
The National Institute of Mental Health’s website explains side effects in depth. “Anti-depressants are safe and popular, but some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects, especially in young people. In 2004, the FDA looked at published and unpublished data on trials of antidepressants that involved nearly 4,400 children and adolescents. They found that 4 percent of those taking antidepressants thought about or tried suicide, compared to 2 percent of those receiving placebos (sugar pills).”
I don’t understand how these psychotropic drugs are still highly recommended and easily prescribed when suicide could be a side effect. That’s a big risk to take when you are feeling lost. Besides feeling okay and that my day-to-day life was bearable, I knew I still wasn’t happy. The one thing those pills didn’t do is teach me to cope with life.
In order to survive and enjoy life, one of the core things a person needs to learn is to cope. It’s like looking at reality and saying, “Okay, this is life and I can do it.” I think normally a child will learn this and get better at it with time and life experiences. I didn’t have that. Drinking booze and loading up on antidepressants was what I saw. Then that didn’t work, so what was I supposed to do.
I’ve had to force myself to take a step in the opposite direction of what I was taught. One of those steps was to learn about these medications that are so easy to obtain. These drugs are drugs; they alter your mindset, they alter you. It’s an easy escape for a short-term fix.
I don’t blame the doctors for trying to do their job. I just think society has become soft. Life is only hard if you make it hard. I learned that finding myself by spending time alone, reading, doing different crafts helped my depression among other things that helped me grow as a person. Associating with different people and talking to people helped. I saw a counselor. There are other ways to deal with depression. Popping a pill to shift your mood will only hurt you the most in the long run. It will hurt the people you care about in the short scheme as well.
I think learning who I am and what I want has nearly cured me. There are still days that I struggle and have extremely negative thoughts. But I know that everyone gets down. I remind myself that I’m in control of my thoughts. If I want to be happy, then I will make it happen. And the alternative to taking a pill with the potential of losing my mind or possibly suicide lingering overhead isn’t exactly what I want. I think I’ll stick to my ‘self’ medicating direction. My mom set an example, probably not the best but it’s something I’ll never forget.