Dear Auntie, I recently went to the doctor and he suggested putting me on medication for my depression and anxiety. I really need the help but I’m scared to be on medication. Counseling works for me but I’ve had issues getting back into counseling, I’m wondering if I should stick to just taking medication and try it out? But I don’t want to make myself sick even more than I am because I’m scared of the out come of not taking care of myself mentally…
This is a great question and I’m glad you wrote in.
For starters, I commend you for following your gut to get help. You recognize that you need help and you’re going about getting it in the right ways.
So, you’re hesitant to take the medication your doctor suggests. If you haven’t done so already, I would recommend talking with your doctor about these concerns, as he can discuss your options of starting with a lower dose or perhaps working with a counselor to work through depression and anxiety without medication.
A popular theory suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic disposition, biochemical imbalance, as well as environmental and social factors. Three main types of depressive disorders—major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder—can occur with any of the anxiety disorders.
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things. People with the disorder experience excessive anxiety and worry, often expecting the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms.
What are your options? Below are a few options, but if you want to talk to someone immediately, please text START to 741741.
- Take Medication – you can go with what your doctor has recommended and take the prescription he gives you. You can meet with him regularly to ensure you’ve got any potential side effects and dosage in check.
- See a Counselor – So, you’ve said you’ve had issues with counseling in the past, but do acknowledge that it has helped you. Perhaps finding another counselor, or clinic might be helpful. You should feel comfortable, respected, and have a sense that this is someone from whom you can learn. My recommendation is that you don’t give up and continually keep trying until you find someone that works. You can also tell your provider how important it is that you continue treatment at the beginning of treatment. To find a counselor, check with:
- Tribal Clinic
- Your School, or University
- Mental Health America has a zip code locator to help you find clinics near you with low-cost or sliding scale services. They also have a Crisis hotline you can call: 1-800-273-TALK.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America also has a zip code locator you can check out.
- See a Counselor & Take Medication – so you’ve been going to talk to a counselor regularly, but it’s still not cutting it. Talk to your counselor to see if a combination of counseling and medication could help you with your depression and anxiety.
Other Tips For Taking Care Of Yourself
This is a good time to take a look at your lifestyle. This can be tricky because the symptoms of depression can lead you to isolating yourself, avoiding activities, and/or using alcohol or drugs. If these things are a part of your lifestyle you may want to seriously consider putting your efforts into working on your lifestyle. Some things that can improve your mood and boost your serotonin levels with everyday things like:
- Passing on the alcohol and drugs
- Spend time people you can confide in and trust
- Try to get out and socialize
- Participate in activities, see what’s going on with your tribe and get involved
- Eat well
- Reduce your stress
Again, I applaud you for taking your health into your own hands. I hope some of this helps and I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.