The Importance of Tracking Your Medication
Many people who suffer from major mental illness experience challenges with taking their medication. As mental health practitioners, we realize that it’s not as easy as it sounds and want to spread some awareness to our patients, their loved ones, and the community at large.
Earlier this year, we discussed, The Pitfalls of Discontinuing Medication. Today, we’d like to revisit that topic and add to it in terms of how to be proactive in tracking your medication throughout the month.
Things You Should Track With Your Medication
Keep a calendar, marking your appointments and refill dates. When taking a new medication, use the calendar as a tool to record any side effects you experience and record how the medication is working in general. During your follow-up appointments, bring the calendar so that you have a written record to discuss the ups and downs of the medication with your psychiatrist.
Know the adverse side effects of your medications. We mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. Many medications have serious side effects that only a small percentage of those who take them experience, however, they are health hazards worth giving your psychiatrist a call ASAP.
Use a pill box if you have multiple medications that need to be taken at different times during the day. This can also help you remember whether certain medications need to be taken with food.
Don’t overcompensate with more medication when you feel bad. Although it may seem like a logical solution: “Meds make me feel good, so when I feel bad I should just take more of them.” More is not necessarily better in this case because they may not work that way. You also run the risk of overdose by increasing medication levels to the point of toxicity. Additionally, if you take more meds when you’re not feeling well, then you may not be able to get an earlier refill for those days after you run out.
Count your pills. If you’ve forgotten whether you took your medication, count your pills and cross check that with how many days you have until your refill.
These are all habits which you can practice, and they’re important because it puts you in control. Ultimately, our aim at PTI is to put the power in your hands and work together with you. You’re not a bystander in the process because we work hard to put you in the center.