Medications Prescription Medications Self-development Therapy

A whole new life

Today will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Psych Patient, MD.

I withdrew from therapy, and I am going to wean myself off of all of my medications.

I have also undergone a few of the most stressful life changes a person can endure.

This ought to be a roller coaster of a ride.

Please don’t try this at home.

Medications OTC Medications Prescription Medications

Why I don’t need cold medication

Last night I felt like crap. I was nauseated, so at first I thought it was my lack of cooking skills. Then came the headache, and finally a tickle at the back of my throat that told me for sure that I was about to come down with something. I popped a couple of Tylenol and went to bed early.

I didn’t sleep well. Woke up at 4 am all stopped up, and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I popped a couple more Tylenol, then bundled up and went to my bank ATM to make a deposit. It made perfect sense to me because I would have no trouble finding parking so early in the morning, and, lo and behold, I didn’t! Got back to the apartment, worked on the computer for an hour, then decided to go back to bed. Even though that was about the time that I usually take my psych meds, Effexor XR and Adderall XR, I opted not to take them then so I could sleep a little more.

I have too much to do today to spend the day in bed, so I finally took my meds. Guess what! My sinuses cleared!!

Now, I am not advocating using Effexor or Adderall as a sinus decongestant. One or both, however, did help clear my sinuses. If they work the same way that over-the-counter cold medication does to clear sinuses, then

  1. taking OTC cold medication on top of my meds will NOT help my cold
  2. whatever side effects that are associated with how the meds cleared my sinuses would be doubled if I took both my psych meds and OTC sinus decongestants

Most OTC sinus decongestants have mild stimulant properties. While stimulation can be fun, the side effects from drug-induced stimulation are not. When I was in college, I had a professor who missed a lecture which was uncharacteristic of him. The next day he explained that he was in the emergency room being evaluated for heart problems. His heart was fine. Apparently the three pots of coffee he had consumed during the previous 12 hours sent his heart into palpitations.

Moral of the story: Just because you don’t need a prescription for it, don’t make it safe.

Communication Medications Prescription Drug Advertising

“Ask your doctor if [insert drug name here] is right for you”

I REALLY HATE television ads for prescription drugs. Not only do they undermind the doctor-patient relationship (if such a thing still exists under managed health care), but they mislead the public into thinking that they can demand whatever medication that they think they need. These ads can open communication between doctors and their patients, but please, what man is going to ask his doctor if he is healthy enough for sexual activity? I’m not saying that people should not blindly accept whatever drug is prescribed for them. If you don’t know why you are taking something, ASK!

This blog entry explains my feelings about prescription drug ads much better than I can. I get too worked up emotionally to be coherent sometimes.

Domestic Violence Medications Steroids

Steroid Delirium

Steroids in professional sports (yeah, I know … I’m stretching a bit by including pro wrestling as a sport) IS a problem that needs to be addressed. Steroids do more than pump up the body. The abuse of steroids can lead to psychiatric problems as well. The tragic story of Chris Benoit should be a wake up call.

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ADHD Medications Therapy

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder refresher

Kenneth J. Headen, M.D., psychiatrist and author, has written an excellent review about ADHD on his blog.

Dr. Headen holds a special place in my heart. He and ariadneK were the first to link back to the original Psych Patient, MD blog. Both Dr. Headen’s and ariadneK’s blogs are worth bookmarking. The links are listed under Mental Health Blogs in my blogroll.


… it’s making me wait …

Okay, beautiful Sunday morning. I’m sitting at my computer going through my email, drinking a leisurely cup of coffee, and then … I gotta go. But I don’t wanna go. Not just yet. Just lemme finish reading my email. Then I’ll go.

Then the cramping starts. I really should go, now. Hmmm, okay. I’ll go. Just lemme finish my coffee.

So I get to the bathroom, and I CAN’T go!

Half an hour and lots of straining later, I have a clogged toilet!

We can put people on the moon. We can re-use space craft. Why can’t we make a psychiatric medication that doesn’t cause constipation?!

Medications Therapy

Sleep and Meds

I take all of my medications in the morning. For some strange reason, the earlier in the morning I take them, the better they work. In fact, I got into the habit of getting up around 5 or 6 AM, taking my meds, then going back to bed. Within an hour or so, I feel ready to get up and start the day.

One of my medications is Adderall XR. It is a stimulant that I take for attention deficit disorder. Oddly enough, I have found that I sleep better in the morning AFTER I take it. I actually feel myself drifting off to sleep, and it is a wonderful feeling. Almost peaceful. Very relaxing.

It is also when I have the strangest dreams. My time periods get mixed up. People I met in adulthood are at my childhood home, or I am with my mother in the present even though she passed away four years ago. It is also odd because I don’t dream very often.

The mind is such a weird, but wonderful place.

Medications Therapy

Effexor Withdrawal

Now I know why doctors aren’t supposed to treat themselves.

Tapering off Effexor XR seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean, it would be better than just stopping cold turkey. I had the doses I needed in the med samples that my doctor gave me. I was on 75 + 37.5 mg every morning. I dropped to 75 mg a day for two weeks. Alternated between being antsy and irritable, when I wasn’t actually both at the same time. But I’ve been known to be that way even under the best of circumstances. Spent one day in bed asleep. Been moody, but that’s nothing new. Thought I might be coming down with a cold or something at times. My intestines got wacky. Had some cramping that I thought was premenstrual, but it turned out that I was actually constipated. I was starving all the time. Felt like I would die if I didn’t eat at that exact moment. But none of it seemed all that out of the ordinary for me.

I dropped down to 37.5 mg a day on Tuesday. Having a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings, both physically and emotionally. Spent another day sleeping. Actually crawled into bed and pulled the covers over my head because I got frustrated over not being able to finish writing my fourth article of the day. Feeling much more tired. Having headaches occasionally. My Adderall XR doesn’t seem to work as well now. Don’t feel as awake in the morning or as focused during the day.

Still haven’t told my doctor that I made this unilateral decision to taper my antidepressant. Too ashamed to admit that I would rather make credit card payments than buy medication. Hope the drug company comes through with free meds for me. Or I hit the lottery. Or my mommy comes to get me and takes me to the next world with her. I’m not dealing with decision making very well right now.

Depression really, really sucks. Even more so now that I have tasted what it feels like not to be depressed.

Medications Mental Health Resources

The high cost of medications

I saw my therapist yesterday. I’m in a bind with medications, and he is trying to help me as best he can. It’s not his fault that I have no health insurance and can’t afford the medications that I need. Anyway, he filled out the paperwork to get meds from the drug company, but I have to wait for the paperwork to be processed. In the meantime, he managed to scrounge up two weeks worth of sample meds for me. I doubt that the paperwork will be processed that quickly, but what else can I do? My shrink is medical director of a state psychiatric hospital during the day. He sees patients two nights a week at a clinic. The clinic patients have insurance so they don’t need sample meds. When I was in residency training, the drug company representatives left us samples all the time. Resident doctors see a different population of patients. The poor ones. Of course, without insurance, no one can afford medication nowadays.

Need help with the high cost of medications? Drug companies have programs for some medications (not just psychiatric meds). Start looking here to find out more: