This blog is not FDA approved
I am not a Pharmacist. Pharmacists actually have degrees and schooling and know more about medicine than some Doctors do. It’s their craft and their specialty. The only difference between a Doctor and a Pharmacist is that a Doctor
went busts their ass in med school and therefore can diagnose. Pharmacists go to are complete freaking math whizzes who live and die by numbers and chemical compounds in pharmacy school, shockingly enough [brief exception: had a pharmacist once who was as bad at math as me, been doing this 9 years and only came across one].
Patients have come in and wanted to know about other medications that treat their particular diagnosis because the side effects of the drug they’re on are too severe for them, but the Doctor wanted them to continue on it because it’s either the best in its class or the patient hasn’t been on it long enough for the side effects to lessen and disappear. It is dicey there because if you step on a Doctor’s toes, you’re going to hear about it and may lose all his/her patients. Usually it would turn out fine, they’d go with their list and their medication would be switched or it’d spark a discussion causing better communication in the doctor-patient relationship.
I am a Pharmacy Technician. I am Nationally Certified and Licensed & Registered in my state. I did not go to school for it, I learned on the job. I am now a Lead Pharmacy Technician which is basically the Pharmacist’s head assistant. I’d go into the details of how a pharmacy works, but it’s nil to my point in this topic.
When I was scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook I came upon the above image and immediately the Pharm Tech in me, as cute as she can be, became a little heated. I understand that healthy eating and exercise are huge in one’s health and wellbeing. I understand through meditation one can actually rewire their brain. On the other hand, posting things like this with the belief that if the person made better lifestyle choices they wouldn’t need their medications is ignorant. I have spoken with some people who went vegan and vegetarian and all of a sudden act as if those who still choose to eat steak and chicken are not being healthy. I said some as I know not all vegans and health nuts (I say that with love) do not act like they know it all. I know lots of Pharmacists, Doctors, and Technicians who think they know it all, too. There is a know it all in everything.
My problem lies when someone makes another feel like they are inferior because they may be on a medication that treats a health condition like diabetes or depression. You want to promote health and well-being, not put people down or scare them. A line like, “Medicine is sickcare.” grinds my gears because it’s putting to mind that anyone who has to be on medication(s) are sick people. Sick has a negative connotation. You can feel sorry for the sick. Disgust for the sick (i.e. it must be how they choose to live that causes their ailment *insert eye roll here*). I have Bipolar 1 Disorder and since having my thyroid removed due to Hyperthyroidism, I now have Hypothyroidism. These conditions, my opinion, do not classify me as sick. To those who think they do, check out the next mirror you happen to face.
Other than people throwing around the notion that the nation (US) is over-medicated, the biggest problem we have is noncompliance. Where someone stops taking their medication(s) for either selfish reasons, someone said they didn’t need it (*the sign above* or “Oh, you look fine. Are you sure you need Zoloft? You never seemed unhappy to me”), or because they can’t afford to go back to see the Doctor for another script. I don’t know how many times I have heard patients complain that they don’t understand why they have to see their Doctor when he can just email/call/or fax it in. Your appointment was over so many months ago, you need to check in so he knows you’re well and get a physical/lab workup.
One of the hardest kinds of patients to deal with are the parents of a child with ADHD/Autism/Bipolar and these kids can be on 1 or more medications at a time. I have only had one Autistic child that I have ever seen being treated medicinally for Autism. My nephew has PDD, but has never been medicated. He went through extensive therapies and is now a “normal” 8-year-old boy. He is in a regular class in a regular school getting A’s and B’s with no extra help. Watching that transformation was amazing. Sorry, moving along. That Autistic child was only 4 years old. 4 years old and on 5 different medications. My heart hurt every time his mom came through to pick up his prescriptions. I don’t remember the medication names, but I remember one was a class III narcotic usually used for ADHD in children — it was either Focalin or Concerta — an antipsychotic, 2 mood stabilizers, and an antidepressant. In my head I honestly thought the doctor was off his rocker. But who am I to question someone else’s treatment? No one. I am not a doctor, an autism specialist, or the mother. It’s not my business and I am not one to judge because if it is helping that child, it is helping that family then is it not worth it?
I have some parents who first bring in that small slip of paper for their child and they choose not to really look me in the eye. I am the type to reach out so I’ll try to subtly assure them it’s OK because I can imagine how hard it must be and feel you have to medicate your 5-year-old child. Yes, some kids are older, but those moms are usually relieved because the kid is completely rambunctious. They give me looks like “aren’t you thankful you don’t have to put up with this?” and say, “When’s the soonest I can pick this up/have my husband pick this up?”
What I love is when they come back the next month and tell me how this medication is saving their child’s life along with the whole family. The child behaves well, listens better, understands more clearly, expresses themselves more concisely, are getting rave reviews from their teachers. Some I never see again and I wonder if they ever went past that first dose. Did their guilt perpetually gnaw at them? Did the medication have the opposite effect for their child? Was their child really ADHD/Bipolar?
The dads are usually quite humorous in their own rights. They either are completely quiet and stoic and only speak when spoken to, or they are laughing and joking the whole time acting or feeling as if it’s not a big deal.
Do not choose to medicate or not medicate your child for selfish reasons. It is selfish to not medicate because you’d rather deal with their outbursts, behaviors, teacher conferences, struggle with bringing up their grades if school age instead of feeling like a “bad parent” and dosing your child up so they can behave. As much as they can be a terror to those around, they can be more so a terror to themselves. They don’t like the outbursts or the inability to listen or understand what you tell them. Or getting in trouble at school. It is selfish to just dose them so you can attain some peace in your existence.
Choose by what’s best for your child and family. If you think it well to hold off 6 more months or a year, do it. If you think it’s best to medicate them, do it. Put yourself in their tiny shoes. Would you want to feel how they feel all the time?
I cannot stress this enough; whatever your feelings, whatever you think about a drug you are going to take or your child is going to be taking, speak with the doctor. Communication is a huge part of the doctor patient relationship. If you want to get off a medication, do not just wean yourself off it or stop taking it altogether. Definitely do not do that to your child as their little systems are so different from an adult’s. If your Doctor doesn’t listen to you or decently explain why you need to maintain the medication or isn’t open to discussing alternatives, get a new Doctor.
The best way, in my opinion, is to combine eastern and western philosophies and medicine. Do not choose one over the other because you’re shorting yourself. Medicine is not sickcare, it’s healthcare just as much as food and exercise are.
(To see my personal blog of rambling rants and shit people rarely share with the world, or blogosphere, click here. I dare you.)