Disorders and Treatment
- Mental Illness
- Bipolar Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Borderline Personality
- Mental Health Diagnosis
- Mental Health Treatments
- Alternative Meds
- Case Studies
My PTSD experience began with an innocent prescription: I had a common kind of infection and my doctor prescribed a common kind of antibiotic. After that the most uncommon thing happened: the medication nearly killed me. I became the 1 in 2 million to end up with Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome. To put that in plain English, I became the equivalent of a full-body burn victim as my body rejected the medication and purged it through my skin.
That was back in 1981. Since then I’ve learned to be very cautious about what medications I take, what their side effects might be and how they interact with each other. Still, for over twenty-five years after that horrific illness I struggled with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The long-lasting effect of the medication lingered in my mind long after it left my body.
Today, PTSD statistics let us know that over 24 million people cope with PTSD symptoms at any given time. (Those of us in the healing profession know that number is low as it only includes diagnosed cases, not survivors who go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.) The causes of PTSD, of course, span more than medical trauma to include survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, accidents, natural disasters and, of course, military service to name a few.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the number of Americans on prescription medications (antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opiods are the most popular) is at 70% — and 50% are on two medications simultaneously. In addition to that, 20% of patients are on five prescriptions or more. The United States alone consumes 75% of the worlds prescription drugs, a number supported by this data from AmericanHealthcare.com:
One of the most popular ways to quell the chaos of PTSD, in fact, is medication. From the Veterans Administration to many psychiatrist’s offices survivors are given prescriptions to reduce insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, depression, mood swings and phobias. With so many prescriptions written for both mental health and physical issues it becomes more and more important to make sure you’re asking the right questions before popping a pill.
The best person to help you discover all you need to know about the new medication you’re taking is often your pharmacist. With an enormous database of medications’ side effects and interactions — and a willingness to educate you for free — your pharmacists can be a terrific asset in your healthcare management. Questions to ask when filling a new prescription include:
1. What are the possible side effects I should be aware of?
2. What interaction does this have with a) other medications I’m taking, b) other over the counter medications (e.g. antihistamines, birth control, painkillers)?
3. When should I expect to see positive benefits?
4. Does it matter if I take this with food or without or at a specific time of day?
5. Will this impact what activities I can do when I take it?
There is one final question, too, and this one is for your family:
Often negative drug reactions can be genetic. Meaning, they are passed down from one generation to another. For example, both of my grandmother’s were allergic to the major component that was in the antibiotic I was given in 1981 — but neither of them mentioned it to my parents. We had no way to know my body might be harboring a secret allergy. Before you take any new medication ask your family:
Has anyone else taken this medication and what has been his/her experience?
Medications have many good benefits both in our medical and mental health lives. Being an advocate for yourself as a patient means asking, asking, asking questions of the right people and about the important subjects to keep yourself safe on your journey to healing.
For drug recall recall information visit American Recall Center.
The information provided on the PsyWeb.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of PsyWeb.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.