Needing to take medication every day is a challenge. From soaring drug costs to stigma against certain medications and conditions, here are a few things you may not know about the lives of people who pop pills daily.
Meds are crazy expensive
In the United States, life-saving medications can be extremely expensive. Many Americans are now looking internationally, buying medication from international and Canadian pharmacies.
If you struggle to afford your medication, a Canada pharmacy referral service like Rx Connected can offer highly affordable drugs in a responsible manner. Rx Connected sources drugs from pharmacies that have been rigorously evaluated and approved by regulatory bodies and their stringent standards.
It’s easy to forget to take your meds
Some habits are hard to stick. Many of us struggle enough to remember our keys, wallet, and phone. Failing to take your medication at the appropriate time can cause unwanted side effects. If this sounds familiar, here are a few simple tips to help you remember:
- Set an alarm on your phone or computer
- Use a pill box with a little container for each day of the week
- Associate taking your pills with a habitual activity; for example, place your pills next to the mug you use for your morning cup of coffee
- Ask your roommate, partner, friend, or family member (ideally, someone who lives with you) to help remind you – two heads are better than one!
Antidepressants are misunderstood
Some of the most stigmatized types of drugs are mental health drugs. This is perhaps due to the many myths and misconceptions surrounding them. Here are a few points that get the facts straight:
- Antidepressants are not magical happy pills that give you instant euphoria; most people will need to take antidepressants consistently for a period of time before they take effect
- People without severe depression and anxiety are unlikely to be affected by antidepressants at all
- Antidepressants are unlikely to dull emotion and affect your personality; instead, they are designed to return someone to their former, healthier self
Using opioids does not mean you’re a junkie
By now, most people have heard about the opioid crisis plaguing America, so much so that when we hear drug names like morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone, we immediately imagine homeless junkies begging for money to fund their next fix. This is a harmful assumption. We must remember that there are many patients who legitimately need powerful opioids to treat severe pain.
When patients suffer severe chronic pain or are nearing the end of their lives, and if they are taking opioids responsibly under the direction of a physician, opioids can make an enormous difference. Studies suggest that there is little risk for abuse and addiction in pain patients who are prescribed opioids with no history of substance use problems. Moreover, stigmatizing so-called “junkies” does nothing to help them. In fact, it may discourage people who need help from seeking it when they fear judgment.
Drugs are not an easy way out
Just because you use medication doesn’t mean you’ve taken the “easy way out” of your medical problem. Don’t assume someone who chooses a pill is too lazy to eat healthy, do yoga, or undergo therapy.
Many patients need a pharmaceutical drug to even begin contemplating active natural treatments like exercising. For example, a patient with clinical depression may need the help of an antidepressant to decrease their symptoms in order to have the capacity to even try cognitive behavioral therapy.
Natural is not always better
Proponents of “natural” remedies need to understand that natural is not always better. Yes, there will be situations where herbal remedies and natural activities like exercise will alleviate symptoms and heal, but in other cases, the only effective treatment is man-made medication.
For example, eating well and exercising regularly can improve your immune function, but simply eating well and exercising will not cure you of a bacterial infection. In such a circumstance, antibiotics may be called for.
Sometimes, it’s not for what you think it’s for
A drug like tadalafil is commonly associated with erectile dysfunction. Yet, it has been approved by the FDA to treat an enlarged prostate. Similarly, many women do not use birth control pills to control birth. In fact, a study shows that only 42% of women use oral contraceptives exclusively as a means of birth control.
Even if an individual was taking ED medication for ED, why should they be judged for doing so? Sexual health is an important component of overall mental health. If ED medication can benefit your self-confidence and intimate relationships, why should it be stigmatized?
How Can We Make Life Easier for Daily Medication Users?
Start the Conversation
Seeing and hearing about medication stigma can be depressing, but if you’re interested in making the world a better place for people like you, consider taking the initiative. Simply explaining your medication to others and dispelling common myths about your condition can be eye-opening.
However, Do Respect the Privacy of Others
If you notice someone taking medication, don’t assume that they will be 100% okay with talking about it. Some people prefer keeping their medication use private, even if you tell them that you take a similar medication. Even if two people suffer from the same illness, their respective experiences can differ widely.
Everyone deals with illness differently. Dieting for one person can be a breeze, but for another it can be a challenging, lifelong battle that won’t be won without the assistance of medications. Instead of judging patients for their way of dealing with illness, we should celebrate their proactive efforts to get better. After all, taking care of yourself when you are healthy is not always easy; taking care of yourself when you have a chronic illness is even harder.