Making the decision to go on medication, or to at least try it, can feel overwhelming and a bit scary. Even just finding the right combination of meds involves a lot of trial, error, and serious contemplating. In order to help you weigh the pros and cons, we asked our Instagram community for their advice on the matter. Continue reading to learn more.

1. “Ask you psychiatrist for a DNA test. It narrows down possible medications. Personally, I’ve tried 13 different medications within two years, I also have a mutation that makes it harder for me to break down meds. So my experience has been exhausting.”

2. “if it doesn’t feel right don’t listen to anyone else but yourself. You’re not a lab rat.”

3. “I think medication can be helpful and is necessary for some situations, but it’s important to manage expectations. While meds can manage some symptoms, they will never be a cure-all and hard work will be required in therapy and in life to help them to be most effective. Also, having a provider that explains them well and is willing to listen to you and discuss your experience, particularly when it comes to side effects, is really helpful if you can find one. It’s really important that if you decide to take medication that you be compliant. Take it as directed, as close to the same time each day as possible, and never stop abruptly without discussing it with your provider. It’s unreasonable to complain that a medication was ineffective if it wasn’t taken correctly. Likely the first try won’t be the charm, and it will be frustrating, but in my situation, it has helped me to manage a bit and things are definitely better with than without.”

4. “Meds can facilitate recovery but you still need to be active in managing your mental health because they don’t “fix/cure” it. It may take a long time to find the right med for you. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t throw out the possibility of meds altogether if you have a bad experience. Most take about 6 weeks to fully get in your system and in those adjustment weeks the side effects are usually the worst but they do get better. Also, managing your lifestyle and thought life/brain plasticity are very important. If you don’t work on that then the meds aren’t going to be much help. There is nothing wrong with having to take meds and you are not a broken/incomplete human being and you might not even need to be on them forever. If you feel like meds are not necessary for your situation it is okay to tell your doctor that. Only you can really know how these things are affecting you and it is ok to take control of your recovery by letting your doctor know what’s working and what isn’t.”

5. “I’m an advocate for meds, there is no shame in taking medication if you need it but it also depends on what they’re for and how long you’re on them for in my opinion. Taking meds to treat symptoms isn’t always a good thing as it’s not the symptoms that are the issue, it’s the thought process behind them that needs treating and medication doesn’t fix that. BUT they can be helpful to ease symptoms while treating the thought process, for example, I am on anti-psychosis pills (or w/e they’re called in English) to help me sleep because otherwise I stay up all night thinking too much, but I don’t take them during the day because that’s when my brain is supposed to be active and it’s important to keep your brain as “natural” as possible in order to understand how it works and treat it properly. Meds aren’t always great for the long term (unless they are, but that varies from person to person) because they just push down the symptoms without treating the disorder, but can be helpful in the short term to ease the symptoms while treating the disorder. It all depends on how you feel about taking them, what treatment you’re in and why you’re taking them I guess.”

6. “Do your research and be proactive. Look at the side effects and the long-term benefits. Issues with addictions should be considered too. Patience is key, sometimes it’s a combination of meds and it takes time to get the right mix.”

7. “Medication can be necessary when your mental health has gotten to the point of being debilitating. Anti-depressants helped me but talk therapy helped more. As I progressed with the work and processing I was doing with my therapist, over time I was weaned off medication and eventually got to the point where I felt I didn’t need to see my therapist anymore. That was a decade ago and I’m seeing someone again now but only because of my great experiences in the past. For a second I thought I needed medication to help me but it’s been a couple months and I’m already feeling like a whole new person. So, all in all, I’d recommend both with the goal to eventually get off the meds. But this was just my experience with severe depression and anxiety. I know some people have it far worse with other symptoms. Listen to your intuition.”

8. “Give it a try!! I was hesitant but it was necessary to help me with my PTSD and has helped me a lot. There is lots of stigma about medication but as a nurse, I can tell you it is safe as long as your doctor monitors you. You may need to try several different meds until you find one that works for you but be patient. Not every medication works for every person. Side effects can be troublesome but if you are honest and explicit with your doctor those can be resolved. I’ve found yoga and meditation also helpful but for me, I may always need medication and I’m okay with that. Don’t be ashamed, the improvement to your life and mood is so worth the struggle.”

9. “medication takes time. It can sometimes mean trying many many meds before you find the right one”

10. “Accept the fact that antidepressants are like antibiotics and any other medication. Be prepared for a long haul. Even though you may start to feel better, don’t stop so suddenly. You want to make sure your illness is completely gone by speaking with a doctor and weaning off.”

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