Most teens, even adults, have a hard time accepting medication treatment as their treatment method. There continues to be a stigma against those who need psychotropic drugs, along with a judgment for having a mental illness in the first place. Nonetheless, medication brings reprieve of challenging symptoms, and that alone is a reason to take them.
Despite this, teens will argue, avoid, and even lie about taking their medication. Some adolescents might do what is known as cheeking, which is a way of looking like he or she is swallowing a pill, only to hold it against their cheek long enough to throw it away when alone.
If your child is taking medication for teen Bipolar Disorder, he or she might not want to take medication because it will limit the elevated mood of their mania. They might miss their wildly creative periods or their hyperactivity or their just plain feeling good. Other teenagers will avoid their medication because it makes them feel “different” or “lethargic” or even “fat”. The side effects for some medications are not pleasant, and especially for female adolescents, the feeling of weight gain can deter her from continued use of her medication. Sometimes, the simple act of forgetting to take medication might be at play as well. Mental illnesses such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and even addiction to alcohol can come with short-term memory loss.
Reminders to Take Medication
If you are a caregiver or parent, the following are reminders to share with your teen in order to encourage compliance with medication treatment:
- Medication is way to experience well-being. You do not have to take them for the rest of your life.
- We can talk to a psychiatrist about the side effects and make adjustments as needed.
- You’re not going to lose your personal control or autonomy in life.
- Taking medications does not mean you are crazy. They are a means to restore balance.
- If you let the illness run its course, there’s a smaller chance that you will find well-being. Whereas if take medication, you’ll likely feel better.
- If one medication does not work, others can be added or adjustments can be made to find the right solution to treatment.
- Although medication might limit the exhilaration of mania, manic episodes can be dangerous and medication provides safety and stability.
Other ways you can help your teen manage his or her medication include buying him or her a pill dispenser, setting an alarm when it’s time to take medication, using post-it notes as reminders, and if possible, arrange for medication to coincide with mealtimes.
Medication treatment continues to carry a stigma. However, the benefits of taking them outweigh any judgment your teen might experience from friends or family. Furthermore confidentiality in the mental health field is strongly enforced; the only individuals who will know that your son or daughter is taking medication are those you or your teen confide in.