What causes psychiatric illness such as depression, anxiety and so on?
Most psychiatric illnesses are caused by genetic formation that is passed on from family members such as parents and other far family members. Exposing this genetic predisposition to certain environmental factors could lead to the experience of the illness earlier and stronger. For example, if you have a family history of bipolar disorder, abusing drugs could lead to the presentation of these symptoms of bipolar illness quicker and in a strong format.
I don’t want to be on any medication. Can I get therapy only?
Some mild and very isolated conditions such as phobias (fears of something) can be fixed without need for medication. However, many psychiatric conditions have genetic bases which mean that there is some disturbance in the brain chemistry. Medication will help to correct this chemistry imbalance and give you a better chance to beat your illness.
How long will I be on medication?
The minimum is 6 months after the condition is stabilized. Your doctor could gradually wean you off if this was your first episode of your illness. If you have had many episodes of this illness, then it is very advisable to stay on the medicine for 3 years. Remember, there is always a risk of recurrence of these problems when you stop the medication. Additionally, sometimes resuming the same medicine will not help as before.
Will I be dependent on the medication?
The word “DEPENDENCY” carries a stigma attached to it probably because of its constant use with “drug dependency”. Given that we are not perfect, we are all dependent on someone or something to get us going and improve our health and well being. When your pancreas (body organ) does not secrete enough insulin, then you have “diabetes” and you are indeed “dependent” on INSULIN. Without it, you would have serious physical health problems.We do have the same exact position here. Your brain cells aren’t secreting enough serotonin, dopamine, and/or adrenaline. They are crucial chemistry for your sense of well being, happiness, motivation and energy. The psychiatric medication helps your brain to produce more of this chemistry or prolong their half life. You are dependent on these drugs to improve your distress tolerance, mood regulation, motivation, energy, and sense of well being.
I don’t think I have a problem, but my (wife, husband, friend, or family member) tells me that I have to get checked out. I’m hesitant to do so, what do you think?
Very unfortunately, seeing a psychiatrist continues to carry a “stigma”. Often, people would rather live a very tough life with their problems than see a psychiatrist. However, the truth is that psychiatric disorders are common and prominent in everyones life. If you add up the lifetime prevalence (or chance you will get a disorder at some point in your life), you will realize that “no one is perfect”. Some people are better than others in coping or hiding, by projecting (making it someone else problem; I’m not incompetent, they are just jealous of me, I’m doing a great job, etc), ignoring, or, dangerously self medicating with drugs and alcohol.If a loved one recommends to you to see a psychiatrist, you might as well do it, because everyone will notice you have a problem anyway. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away or leave you feeling better. The situation can only get worse.
I feel that “life isn’t worth living” but I know that I will never kill myself. It is against my religion and I love my family. Can I keep going like this?
There is a very fine line between “thinking of suicide” and “committing suicide”. It is like driving 100 miles an hour, and thinking that you will never get hurt. You might not get hurt, but when you do it is too late. Overconfidence and ignoring this serious thought of killing yourself could result in a nightmare to your loved ones and create a mess that might cost them all their lives to clean up. Having the thought, access to a weapon, having a bad day and a couple of drinks lets all the “swiss cheese” holes line up, and a catastrophe can happen. If you have the thought, get immediate help, and DON’T wait to prove that you can fight it.
I have never had problems with attention or other ADD problems as a child, but I’m struggling as an adult with attention, distraction, and impulsivity. I can’t get anything done, and I’m worried that I’m about to lose my job in the current job market. Do you have an explanation?
Most intelligent, talented, charming children can go through school with very high grades, especially if they have mild to moderate ADHD. However, as they grow older and the competition becomes fiercer while the stress seems to accumulate from everywhere, they start to show their need for help. Some adults choose very thrilling and exciting careers to fit well with their ADD, such as emergency room work, real estate, stock broking, sales and consulting, and so on. However, they still have many problems establishing successful relationships because of their tendency to not listen attentively to their partners, follow through with their promises, and check their impulsive behaviors. What worked before as a child, isn’t enough anymore for your adult life. ADD/ADHD then becomes a problem for an adult.