Why Some People Struggle with Prescribed Medication
It can be difficult to watch a loved one’s mental health deteriorate when they need medication. It is also confusing when a family member chooses not to take their prescribed medication even when they know it will help them. In this article, I wanted to reach out to my family to understand their point of view when they do this.
Why My Brother Struggles with Medications
My brother takes medications for three disorders:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Oppositional defiant disorder
His behavior makes it very obvious if he is taking his medication or not. Without it, he became irritable, distracted, and depressed but he still would not take them. When I asked him why, he told me that he could not remember to take his medication in the morning, and before he knew it, the rest of the day was over.
After brainstorming, we designed a way that he could remember to take his medication in the morning. He immediately goes to brush his teeth when he wakes up in the morning. We decided that if he sets out his medication and a glass of water right next to his toothbrush, it would be impossible to forget. Now he admits to being a lot more consistent with taking his medication.
It is no always as simple as a quick behavioral change, though. In my mom’s case, the solution is less clear.
Why My Mother Struggles with Medications
My mother takes medications for three disorders:
- Rapid cycling bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse
She struggles with taking her medication for insurance reasons. On top of not being able to afford it, she says that the medication made her feel estranged from her family and emotionally numb. She also developed a deteriorating sense of balance that made her feel dizzy all day, and she suffered a decline in memory and quick thinking.
My mom admits to wanting to take her medication. It keeps her balanced, able to be proactive, and reach out to the world around her since she is less affected by the emotional bouts of mania and depression, but it is just too expensive sometimes.
Their Choice Affect the Whole Family
Choosing not to take prescribed medication affects the whole family. Their depression, rebellion, moodiness, and isolation affect all of us. Each person has the autonomy to decide what is right for them, but it is important to heed a doctor’s advice, and consider how that choice is affecting, and sometimes hurting, the family unit.
After hearing their side of the story, I couldn’t hold their choices against them, but I am still vocal about what I need from them and their mental illness management. This back-and-forth communication brings us peace and closeness and helps us maintain a functioning family unit.