If you are currently seeing a doctor, psychiatrist, therapist or other practitioner for depression, anxiety, mental health or mood disorders, the first thing you need to do is evaluate whether they are the best person for you to be working with. Your doctor works for you, yet many times it can feel like they are in full control and it can be intimidating to question their authority when they have extensive education within the medical field. However, many therapists don’t take the time to research new methods. They have to be careful about what to recommend to you because they could end up in lawsuits and lose their practice if it goes badly. And they might not want to introduce you to an alternative therapy that works for you…because then you will stop paying them for appointments.
Don’t forget that you are in a working relationship with your doctor and you need to be getting out of it what you really want and need. Hopefully in the long run you don’t need them or the medications they prescribe to you.
Ask them tough questions. What is the medication I’m taking doing to my body chemically? How is that helping? What are the long term effects? What’s the long term plan for my health and medication use? I actually brought my boyfriend with me to question my doctor because as a neutral third party he was able to have a more direct conversation than I could have had on my own.
Find out if they are knowledgeable and receptive to alternative methods. Ask them if they have experience improving mood disorders with diet and supplements. Have they looked into electro brain stimulation, CBD or even the use of small doses of magic mushrooms to help with depression?
Find out if they will help you try out alternatives and if you can be honest with them. When I first started tapering off my medications I was lying to my doctor about it. After awhile I thought, why am I still paying this person who thinks they are helping me when I’m not even doing what they recommend? I went on a search for a new doctor whom I could be honest with, had experience helping people get off medications and could recommend alternative therapies for me to try. Eventually that doctor told me I didn’t need to come see them any more, and to keep in touch if I ever needed help again.
If you don’t get answers from your doctor that satisfy you, it may be time to look elsewhere. Definitely continue taking any medication and working with a professional until you have an action plan. Do thorough research about anyone you work with, and taper off of medications slowly rather than going off of them all at once.
I recommend doing a search for someone who works in orthomolecular medicine, functional medicine, or integrative psychiatry. Here are a few resources where you can find these kinds of practitioners:
This is the first step towards a life beyond meds, I hope you find it empowering and exciting!