How Do Psychiatric Drugs Work?
Most people begin taking psychiatric medications because they are “distressed and distressing.” They are either experiencing overwhelming states of emotional distress, or someone else is distressed with their behavior and sends them to a doctor – or some combination of both. There are many labels for these states, like anxiety, depression, compulsiveness, mania, psychosis, voices, and paranoia, and labels change over time. Doctors tell people that their emotional distress is due to a mental disorder which has a biochemical basis, that their distress is dangerous and must be stopped (such as fears of suicide or claims of deteriorating illness), and that medication with psychiatric drugs is a necessary treatment.
Psychiatric medications act on the brain to alter mood and consciousness like any other psychoactive substance. Because many medications can blunt or control the symptoms of emotional distress – by either tranquilizing a person, speeding them up, numbing sensitivity, or getting them to sleep – they can take the edge off extreme states. They help some people feel more capable of living their lives. It is important to realize, however, that psychiatric drugs do not change the underlying causes of emotional distress. They are best understood as tools or coping mechanisms that sometimes alleviate symptoms and pave the way for change – but with significant risks for anyone who takes them.
Source: Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs (Second Edition)
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Tags: anxiety, compulsiveness, coping mechanisms, depression, deteriorating illness, distressed, distressing, emotional distress, experiencing overwhelming, fears of suicide, Harm Reduction, How Do Psychiatric Drugs Work?, mania, mental disorder, numbing sensitivity, Paranoia, Psychiatric Drugs, psychiatric medications, psychoactive substance, Psychosis, speeding them up, tranquilizing a person, underlying causes of emotional distress, voices