As we’ve discussed, being able to work on your new life plans requires being in tip-top shape both physically and mentally. Sometimes this is about more than being mentally strong, and specific mental health challenges need to be addressed fully and seriously.
The brain is an organ, a physical instrument of chemicals and electricity, and just like the heart and gall bladder, it can falter, and it should be medically treated as needed.
Some of you will be highly suspicious of drugs, and others will be willing to try whatever might help. It doesn’t matter; we must all treat our brains with respect, which means recognizing when we need help and providing and/or procuring it.
In an ideal world, we would all feel such passion and excitement for our goals that our brains would produce whatever chemicals we needed to help us achieve our goals. But in the real world, many of us struggle, and some of us struggle greatly.
Case Study: ADHD
Let’s take one mental health issue as an example. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be a condition from birth or something that happens as a result of certain medications or stressful life situations.
I’ve always been good at focusing my attention, but when I was around 40, my doctor proscribed a statin drug to lower my cholesterol. Unfortunately, this medication induced a serious brain fog. I eventually resolved the problem, but it left me with personal knowledge of how debilitating it is to be unable to focus.
However, ADHD and its related issues are not allowed to limit you in today’s sophisticated medical world. There are numerous treatments, pharmaceutical and otherwise, to address the problem.
ADHD is aggravated by distractions, so get rid of the ones you can. Do the things I discussed in another blog post to improve your nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. Sometimes self-care can keep the issue under control.
If self-care doesn’t do the trick, seek out a psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD and get evaluated. There are many medical approaches to treatment, but your doctor will probably suggest medication at some point.
Approach Medicine with Research
Before you talk to a professional about medicine, use the internet and other resources to find out about the medicines that may be discussed. Read about their side effects, cross-sensitivities, and so on.
Remember that the pharmaceutical company’s recommended starting dose is based on what studies found provided the therapeutic benefit for the most people without side effects. Your effective dosage may be much smaller, and you should talk about this with your doctor.
And stay away from online conspiracy theories and crackpots. Google Scholar is a great way to find credible, validated research, and many pharm companies themselves will give good information on low-cost, generic versions of certain medications.
You should also look at the wide variety of medications available for ADHD (or whatever condition you’re researching).
Bupropion (Wellbutrin) belongs to the family of drugs that increase the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. The first rewards your brain when you do things right, and the second affects how your brain pays attention and responds to events. Because it is primarily considered an anti-depressant, your doctor may not mention Bupropion for ADHD.
A second medication to discuss is trazodone, which is usually prescribed to treat insomnia. (ADHD is aggravated by alack of sleep.) Another is Modafinil (Provigil), which manages fatigue.
Don’t think a few hours’ reading will make you a drug expert, but a little information in your pocket can help you have a much more productive discussion with your physician.