Why Must I Take My Meds??

Dr. Diana L Walcutt Health Guide
  • You know, as a Psychologist, I do understand that it can be very hard to take medications, especially if you don't like the side effects, or don't feel like you need the meds anymore.


    But Cindy McCain (Sen. John McCain's wife) didn't see the need to take her blood pressure medications, since she was "feeling fine" in the months before she nearly died from a stroke. Unfortunately, she is not unusual in this; we feel ok, and so we take our meds occasionally, or not at all, and forget to tell our physicians that we are self-medicating (and few of us have medical degrees to decide this on our own, me included!).

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    Many of us stop our medications before we should or before our prescription is used up. This includes antibiotics, mood stabilizers, blood pressure medications, and the list goes on, much too long to go into here. What we don't realize is that we are setting ourselves up for potentially lethal reactions, such as the one that Cindy McCain suffered. She's lucky.


    The reasons make perfect sense, actually: We feel better, we don't feel better, we can't tell any difference between when we were taking them, we dislike the side effects, we can't afford the pills, or we just forget.


    Nearly one third of us stop our medications before we should. Over 30%!


    I thought I should list some of the effects of stopping meds before we should. This is only a cross section, but might give you an idea.


    Antibiotics: can cause resistance to antibiotics and you can develop MRSA (mer-sa) which are infections that can kill, since we don't antibiotics to treat it.


    Antidepressants: return of depression, bad dreams, suicidal and/or homicidal thinking.


    Benzodiazepines: psychosis, seizures, even death.


    Seizure medications (Keppra, Dilantin): severe seizures


    Stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta: severe depression, extreme fatigue.

    Please take your meds, or talk with your doctor about changing your medications or tapering them off. Some medications can be ok to stop. Others are not.


    Please, be careful.

Published On: December 09, 2008