Medication stigma rears its ugly head in the form of jokes about “crazy pills” and stories of people turning into zombies when taking meds. It can also make you feel sick or less than. This stigma not only makes people who are taking prescribed medication feel bad, it can prevent people from seeking the mental health care they need.
You don’t have to buy the lies that medication stigma likes to tell. There are simple things you can do to remember the positive role mental health medication plays in so many of our lives.
Keep Your Pills in Their Original Bottle
If you’re looking for a super simple way to combat medication stigma in your life, start by keeping your pills in their original bottle instead of using a decorative pill box or an unmarked container. By doing so, you reduce the stigma of taking medication every time you pull the bottle out of your purse or your family sees you taking your next pill at home.
Don’t feel like you have to hide in the bathroom when you take your pills either. Take them in the kitchen, at the dinner table in the restaurant, or wherever else it’s convenient. By doing so, you’ll normalize taking pills, and you just may start a conversation about mental health medication in the process.
Start By Talking About Your Mental Health Struggles
If you aren’t ready to talk about the medication you take, start by talking about your mental health in general. Be willing to open up to others about your experience when they talk about their own, and don’t be afraid to share how you’re really feeling when someone asks how you are. You’ll discover that the opportunity to talk about mental health medication unfolds naturally once the conversation is started.
Know—and Share—the Facts
There are a lot of misconceptions about medication. For example, some people still believe Adderall is a recreational drug, or that benzodiazepines, like Xanax, will make you comatose.
Knowing the facts about the specific medication you take, as well as other mental health medications, can make you feel better about what you’re taking.
Once you’re aware of the facts, you can easily share them whenever mental health medication comes up in conversation. You can share that many medications have multiple uses, and that getting the dosage right is just as important as finding the right medication.
Overcoming mental health medication stigma is a slow process, but it's worth the effort. Not only will it make you feel better, but by talking about the medication you take openly, you could encourage someone else to finally get the help they need.