What you need to know before starting a drug for a mental health problem

Joanna Moncrieff MD outlines several questions that one might want to ask when considering whether taking a psychiatric drug makes sense or not. I think it’s very significant that she repeatedly suggests people take to the internet to get the answers. This, in my opinion, is because she knows doctors don’t generally have the answers. Well, in fact, no one has all the answers. There is far too much we simply don’t know about these drugs which is why it behooves us to know as much as possible. Beyond Meds came to be as a result of my having been gravely harmed by these medications. And I, in fact, asked these questions but was told, unequivocally, at the time, that the drugs were safe. Let’s not let that happen anymore. People are free to choose these drugs, but let it be as informed a choice as possible.

For information on psychiatric drugs from Beyond Meds see here: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

Below is Joanna Moncrieff’s outline of questions to ask.

Joanna Moncrieff

In a belated new-year blog, I thought it would be useful to set out what I think someone needs to think about if they are considering taking a drug for a mental health problem, especially if they think they might end up taking the drug for a long time. These are the questions you might want to ask your doctor if you take a ‘drug-centred’ approach to the use of drugs in mental health (http://joannamoncrieff.com/2013/11/21/models-of-drug-action/).

1. What immediate effects will the drug have?

We need to know how taking a drug for a short time is likely to affect our feelings, thoughts and behaviour. Data from animal studies and ‘human volunteer’ studies can establish how a particular drug changes ordinary behaviour, feelings and mental capacities, but unfortunately, for many sorts of drug, this sort of research remains scanty or unpublished. However, the internet provides increasing opportunities for people…

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