The treatment plan you and your healthcare provider develop may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, by themselves or in combination, to manage your symptoms. Your job is to make sure you understand the plan, and to stick with it.
If your treatment plan includes prescribed medications such as antidepressants, your healthcare provider should explain why a specific medicine is being prescribed for you, and advise you on when and how you should take it. You will need to follow the medication plan outlined for you. You can use the Weekly Medication Log to help you keep track of your medications.
When managing your medications:
Do not change your dose or stop taking your medicine. Keep taking the recommended dose at the recommended time. Do not double your dose if you discover you have missed a dose. Do not stop taking your medication even if you begin to feel better. There are significant and immediate health risks associated with abruptly stopping some antidepressant medications.
Record any side effects you are experiencing. Medications can take up to six weeks to begin working, and because certain side effects are possible, help monitor your medication plan by writing down any events – both positive and negative – that might be associated with your medications, and share that information with your healthcare provider.
Don’t hesitate to share these details right away, rather than waiting for your next scheduled appointment.
Track your symptoms. Make simple notes of how you are feeling throughout the day. This will help create a record that you and your healthcare provider can use to assess how well your meds have been working.
Don’t combine your medications with other medicines or with alcohol. Speak with your healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter drugs, or anything prescribed by another provider such as your dentist. Stay away from alcohol to avoid any potentially dangerous interactions with your medications.
Carry a record of your medications with you. This will remind you of your medication plan, and can be used when you speak with other healthcare providers. Try using the Medication Wallet Reminder Card.
If your treatment plan includes therapy, you must stay committed in order to succeed. It can take weeks or even months to experience the benefits of therapy, but over time, most people do see an improvement. Your patience with and participation in therapy are both critical. Keeping your appointments and working on any assignments or exercises you receive are essential to getting the maximum benefit from therapy.
Take recommended lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night seriously, and devote the time and attention needed to develop new, healthier habits.