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I have pharmacophobia and a therapist suggests how to handle it

<p class = "Canvas Atomic Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " Warning: This story "data-reactid =" 18 "> Warning: This story covers generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and the use of medication. Please read with caution if these topics trigger you and the use of medication. Please read with caution when these topics trigger you.

I knew that patients with mental health problems often received poor health care. I knew that physicians were more likely to reject female patients, and I knew that access to quality mental health care was a challenge for those using the public health system. But while I was aware of it, I was still shocked when two doctors in a row eliminated my mental health problems and suicidal thoughts last winter. I was all the more angry when, as a result of these experiences, I got a pharmacophobia known as the fear of medication.

As a patient with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder, I had a particularly dreadful panic attack in January. At the time I did not have a family doctor and my therapist advised me to look for medication in a walk-in clinic.

My experience in this walk-in clinic was terrible. The doctor told me she did not think fear was a mental illness and condescendingly asked me, "Are you really stressed out, are you training and eating well?" I explained that with the help of the therapy I had to work through a trauma and that I also explained how I spent every day battling another 4-hour panic attack, which eventually prescribed Xanax and sent me away, knowing the drugs were highly addictive and promising them only then But when I was exhausted from weeks of insomnia, I finally took it to help me sleep, but unfortunately it made me even more anxious, and for the first time in my life, I had suicidal thoughts.

Some Weeks later, I finally arranged an appointment with a family doctor, he prescribed me Mirtazapin and then casually told me that it was me Anxiety could get worse before it gets better. I said to him, "I do not know if I'm able to survive when things get worse." And he answered dismissively, "Do not think it over!" While I went with the recipe, I never filled it at my pharmacy ,

Fortunately, my anxiety has improved dramatically through regular training, a new life situation, and continued therapy, but I often wonder how quickly my life would have improved if I had not met such dismissed medical professionals. Without this experience I would never have developed a strong fear of medication? Now drugs frighten me, because my fear is based on the fear of being out of control. And that's why I wonder if they will ever be a possibility for me.

I'm not alone with my fear of taking anxiety medications. A 2015 study found that one third of participants would rather die than take. But for many people with mental disorders, taking medication is sometimes a matter of life or death.

To understand when anxiety is needed and how to deal with pharmacophobia, I spoke to Celeste Viciere, LMHC, host of the Celeste the Therapist Podcast, to get the 411 on this difficult topic. Here's what she had to say:

How do I know when it's a good idea to take medication?

According to Viciere, it's important to identify exactly when you need to take medication. "I always urge my clients to make sure that they use everything they can do on their own." Are you sleeping well How do you eat, how do you train, do you have stress? ", She says." [The lack of those] Four things can really complicate your life and cause mental health problems. "But if you study these areas of your life and still want additional help, medications could be a solution.

When you make the decision to take medications, the next step is to mentally prepare yourself. "I like to look at the side effects of the drug and find out what it should help with," says Viciere. "Think of it as an added bonus to what you already do for your sanity. Tell yourself that you just add another piece of the puzzle to alleviate your fears, and [it’s normal] will be scared if you do something Start something new. "Viciere suggests explaining to your doctor what you are afraid of and what you may think might happen when you take this medicine, it is important that you answer these questions so that you do not experience this new experience feeling blind.

How can I feel under control when taking new medications?

I can often muster enough courage to take a new pill, but as soon as I have it, irrational thoughts and me overwhelm me Begin doing it Spiral: Viciere suggests finding ways to keep control of the process.

For example, if you feel paranoid, how the drug affects you If your body feels it is recommended to log the physical symptoms that you have and to consult your doctor. "If you get a confirmation or talk to your doctor, you can not really care about it," she explains. Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about the symptoms, but it is best not to google them first. This could potentially worsen the situation.

What is the best way to alleviate the fear of medication?

When it comes to treating drug anxiety, Viciere suggests working with your doctor and therapist to create a plan to adequately manage your anxious thoughts when the medications aggravate them. "Ask your doctor," When I get more anxious, what should I do about it? "It says." She adds that it is important to challenge these intrusive thoughts and substitute them with hopeful ones. "Challenge [your] Thoughts, because [the heightened anxiety probably] has not happened yet, there is also the possibility That this is not the case and that you react well, "says Viciere, one way or another:" Do not get stuck in the negative. look at the positives. And if you do not respond well, you have the option of stopping the medication. [It’s important to] Give yourself options because you feel stuck because of the fear [can].

Are there any other ways to deal with my anxiety in addition to taking medication? Just part of a big puzzle is our mental health. You should continue to consider your sleep habits, eating habits and external stress factors.

Drug anxiety is common and nothing to be ashamed of. However, it's important not to let your fear of medication stop you from being your best and healthiest self. "Consider it from a holistic point of view, and let [medication] be one [of the] among other things you're doing right now," she adds. From creating a symptom log, talking to your doctor, creating a plan with your therapist, to challenging intrusive thoughts, there are many solutions in case you are afraid of losing control of your body.

Viciere's solutions have made it clear to me that taking medications does not mean I'm losing control of my body. When I think about fear in this way, I realized that I have options and can listen to my body to find out exactly what he needs. It's about taking small steps – and at the end of the day you know exactly what's best for your body.

<p class = "Canvas Atomic Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " If you have problems If you need assistance, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), which is available Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text NAMI's Crisis Line at 741-741. "data-reactid =" 41 "> If you have problems and need help, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), available Monday through Friday, 10 am-6pm, ET. If this is an emergency, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or NAMI's Crisis Line at 741-741.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0 em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " Too many of us report Doctors who do not trust our pain, the years of misdiagnosis and difficulty in accessing have the care we need (from exorbitant costs to earlier intimidating appointments). Often, health care barriers are directly related to the gender focus of the medicine and stigmatization in the health care system In relation to our race, ethnicity, sexuality, non-binary gender identity, age and income together In our series Pain Today, we highlight these stories through personal and reported essays in the hope that they will empower each other, in a way for ours Health that most of the medical community does not do. "data-reactid =" 42 "> Too many of us have history by doctors who do not trust our pain, who have spent years being misdiagnosed and with the care we need (from exorbitant costs to early intimidating appointments). Often, barriers to health care are directly related to the gender focus of medicine and stigmas related to race, ethnicity, sexuality, non-binary gender identity, age and income. In our series Pain Today, we highlight these stories through personal and reported essays, hoping that they will empower each other to work for our health in a way that much of the medical community does not.

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