Should I stop taking my medication?
I am not an MD, so I could never answer this for you, ever. There is a growing trend in the mental health community, including amongst psychiatrist, that medication should not be taken for an indefinite period of time.
I think this truly depends on the diagnosis and the person.
What I have noticed is that some people stop feeling negative emotions after taking medicine for a long period of time… and it is so important to feel “negative” emotions. Negative emotions, allow you to navigate when to keep an employee, when you have had enough to drink or even eat, when to stop dating a particular person, whether to take that job or not. When access to negative emotions is blunted, “I do not like my cleaning day using my things… oh well.” A person ends up with employees she or he does not actually like, or drinking too much or worse, dating a person they actually do not like. This happens over long term use of medication. I think medicine for a short period is great, 6-12 months is wonderfully effective. And for some of my clients for a long period is necessary.
When there is that moment that you think, “Wow, I do not feel anything.” e.g. “I went to the funeral and forced myself to cry.” Maybe it is time to either switch medicine or go off the medication.
There is a growing number of holistic psychiatrists who urge a patient to stop eating sugar, white flour, drinking… and then of course: to Meditate! etc.
I think this advice is awful.
There are ways to wean off the medicine that do not require becoming a monk. Dr. Brogan is wonderful, but her work emphasizes taking everything out of your diet, following a strict Paleo diet and yoga. Some people can do this, and some can not. Because many people have eating disorders.
I do believe diets can help, but this type of treatment to heal depression is demoralizing for people who have challenges with eating disorders.
There is adding, and not subtracting that will help if someone is trying to wean off the medicine, and good old fashioned psychotherapy alongside this is important as well. Psychotherapy reduces stress, which reduces inflammation and also provides what we all need a meaning centered approach alongside biological interventions.
I have seen a lot of success with Dr. Ilardi’s The Depression Cure, and also with the Fisher Wallace Stimulator, alongside therapy to regain the internal locus of control blurred by the blunted emotions of prolonged medication use. I think we are finally reaching a place, where when so many people are over medicated we are turning to one another and saying: maybe medicine for a short period of time, but not forever.
And maybe medicine forever for specific diagnosis. Every person has a unique path to healing. For some, medicine is the answer, for others medicine has blunted their emotional range and left them almost blind in terms of navigating major life decisions. And this, I believe is an awful scenario that can easily be turned around and healed. Emotions are good, important.